Much as I enjoyed your recent piece on Faulkner in The Book Review, I'll have to disagree with the author concerning his description of Faulkner writing behind "locked doors." When I stayed with Faulkner the summers of 1939 and 1940. He wrote in the library with doors wide open, and I sat on the floor reading books from his library while he wrote "Go Down, Moses." Next day, he wrote the final draft out on the lawn, seated in a wooden lawn chair.
As for the books that influenced him, he never mentioned Balzac, but gave me a list of his favorite novels, with Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks" listed as No. 1, he said, for the 20th Century. His other favorites were "Moby Dick," "Lord Jim," "Nostromo," "Bleak House," "Ulysses," "Madame Bovary," Shakespeare's Sonnets and "Henry V."
In Faulkner's library are three of my air combat novels, according to Joe Blotner, Faulkner biographer. I did what Faulkner aspired to do--flying with the Royal Air Force, which I joined in Canada in 1940. I wrote him three years later from Norfolk hospital with a Jerry night-fighter cannon shell in my leg and blamed him for putting me there with his RAF flying stories.