An account of the influence on William Faulkner of his friendship with Phil Stone, who, in the first decades of their friendship, served as mentor, muse, patron, editor, agent and publicist to the writer and was one of his first biographers. Susan Snell suggests that Stone was one of Faulkner's principal character studies, and from his life came the raw material out of which Faulkner constructed an important part of his fictional Yoknapatawpha County. Faulkner also appropriated Stone's personality and profession to mirror, and sometimes to mask, his own insecurities. In Stone, Faulkner saw the Old South confronting 20th-century crucibles - the rapacious white lower classes, the Great Depression, and the first stirrings of the civil rights and women's movements. It is the story of a talented, complex man, bred for power in the declining era of southern patriarchy, who became mentally unstable in his final years.