The Unvanquished

Mississippi during the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Sartoris family, and their traditions.

The Unvanquished is a 1938 novel by the American author William Faulkner, set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County. It tells the story of the Sartoris family, who first appeared in the novel Sartoris (or Flags in the Dust). The Unvanquished takes place before that story, and is set during the American Civil War. Principal characters are Bayard Sartoris, John Sartoris (Marse John, Father), Granny, Ringo (Morengo), Ab Snopes, Cousin Drusilla, Aunt Jenny, Louvinia, and the lieutenant (a Yankee soldier). (from Wikipedia)

About Faulkner’s Short Story Cycles

This is an absolutely awesome quote from a major work about linked short stories (short story cycles). It spotlights how William Faulkner used linked short stories to constantly let the past bleed into the present in his writing (and indeed into in each sentence!) …

“A year after the French translation of The Sound and The Fury appeared in 1938, Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that Faulkner’s disavowal of chronology illuminates how ‘It is man’s misfortune to be confined in time’ (1963: 226). Rather than chronology determining meaning in his characters’ lives, they are bound by ‘central themes’ around which ‘innumerable fragments of thought and act revolve’ (Sartre 1963: 228) where key dramatic events filter every other event. … The past’s incursion into the present inspires the nearly interminable sentences of Faulkner’s prose, particularly heightened in Go Down, Moses. In ‘The Bear’, Faulkner writes a 1,800-word sentence. Faulkner’s famously long sentences reflect the ongoing motion of time that is so central to his fiction. Cowley recounts what Faulkner told him of this feature in his writing: ‘ “My ambition,” he said, “is to put everything into one sentence – not only the present but the whole past on which it depends and which keeps overtaking the present, second by second” ’ (1967: 663). … The short story cycle, in its ability to balance cyclical and progressive understandings of history, is an ideal form for showing the paradoxical nature of the past.”

Source: Smith, Jennifer J.. American Short Story Cycle . Edinburgh University Press. Kindle Edition. “

More About this Collection

The Unvanquished at DIGITAL Yoknapatawpha (includes an interactive map with locations)

Unresolved Tensions: William Faulkner’s The Unvanquished as a Short-Story Cycle – from

About Southern Literature on


This site is a labor of love so many entries could benefit from more quotes, links to interesting background material, author interviews, etc. If you have material for the collection on this page, please get in touch.

Unless otherwise noted, the blurb is adapted from Goodreads.
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