"There Was a Queen" (Text Key 250)

short story

In some respects "There Was a Queen" is a kind of valedictory on the two old Yoknapatawpha families who were at the center of two of Faulkner's first four novels. In Flags in the Dust (1929) Bayard Sartoris marries Narcissa Benbow. The focus of Sanctuary (1931) is on Narcissa's brother Horace, also a major character in the first novel, but Narcissa and Jenny Du Pre (the central characters in this story) play prominent roles. Taking place ten years after the events of Flags, "There Was a Queen" describes how Narcissa preserves her reputation and how that proves too much for Aunt Jenny, who had long been the guardian of the Sartoris legacy. There is a next generation - Bayard and Narcissa's son Benbow Sartoris was born at the end of Flags, but Faulkner never picks up his story again. On the other hand, in the mid-1930s he does re-open the Sartoris saga in the other direction, writing The Unvanquished stories about the family during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Beginning in 1929, Faulkner wrote at least three different versions of the story, including one titled "An Empress Passed." Under its final title it was published in Scribner's magazine in January 1933. Faulkner republished it twice, without further revision: in Dr. Martino and Other Stories (1934) and Collected Stories (1950). This latter version is the basis for our edition.

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Scribner's Magazine
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January 1933
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Vintage International
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New York
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How to cite this resource:
Railton, Stephen, and Dorette Sobolewski. "Faulkner's 'There Was a Queen.'" Added to the project: 2013. Digital Yoknapatawpha, University of Virginia, http://faulkner.iath.virginia.edu