"All the Dead Pilots" (Text Key 234)

short story

This story was originally entitled "Per Ardua," from the motto of the Royal Air Force: "Per ardua ad astra" ("Through struggles to the stars"). The story certainly existed by 5 February 1930, when Faulkner submitted it to the Saturday Evening Post. It underwent five rejections by the popular magazines before Faulkner included it as the third story in his first collection of short stories, These 13 (1931); it appears there after "Victory" and "Ad Astra" and before "Crevasse," which he had excised from the lengthy "Victory." In the first Yoknapatawpha novel, Flags in the Dust, Johnny Sartoris' death in World War I haunts his twin brother Bayard, who is not mentioned in the story; the Mississippians who are mentioned in Johnny's letter - Aunt Jenny, Elnora and "grandfather" - are important characters in that earlier novel. Although additional Sartoris family members appear in many other of Faulkner’s fictions, including Sanctuary, "All the Dead Pilots" concerns the romantic rivalry between the American Sartoris and the English Captain Spoomer for the affections of the same woman - twice. Faulkner told at least two acquaintances that he liked it best of his stories, writing ""This is the best one" over its title in a copy of These 13 (Blotner, William Faulkner: A Biography, 1974: 731-32, 777). When he assembled his Collected Stories in 1948, he opened "The Wasteland" section of Great War stories with "Ad Astra," followed by the related "Victory" and "Crevasse," and ending with "Turnabout" and "All the Dead Pilots" - a waste land of war, indeed. Our representation of the story is based on the version that appears in Collected Stories.

First Publisher: 
Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith
First Publisher Location: 
New York
First Publisher Date: 
Page Start: 
Page Stop: 
Edit Copy Publisher: 
Vintage International
Edit Copy Publisher Location: 
New York
Edit Copy Publisher Date: 
Search DIsplay Order: 
Publication Date: 

How to cite this resource:
Towner, Theresa M., and Lorie Watkins. "Faulkner's 'All the Dead Pilots.'" Added to the project: 2015.  Additional editing 2019: John Corrigan, John Padgett. Digital Yoknapatawpha, University of Virginia, http://faulkner.iath.virginia.edu

Associate Editors: