"The Unvanquished" (Text Key 2084)

short story

"The Unvanquished" was the fifth in a series of stories Faulkner published between 1934 and 1936 about the Civil War as seen through Bayard Sartoris's youthful eyes. Appearing in the Saturday Evening Post on November 14, 1936, the piece details Bayard's grandmother Rosa Millard's business of stealing mules from the Union army only to sell some of them back and use the money along with the mules she keeps to help support the poor farmers of Yoknapatawpha County. At stake in the story are the problematics of morality.

Faulkner later revised the story, renaming it "Riposte in Tertio" and making it part of the volume entitled The Unvanquished, which was published in 1938. The revisions are not extensive, the most noteworthy being the insertion of numbers at the head of the story's sections. The original magazine version was reprinted in Uncollected Stories, which is the text used here.

Dating the Story: Although no specific dates are mentioned in the story, the events in the present time of the story definitely happen late in the war, and other texts in the series suggest that it is 1864. In "Skirmish at Sartoris," for example, Bayard connects his grandmother's death with a letter dated in December of that year. Accordingly, we date the story's "present" in 1864, with flashbacks stretching back as early as 1858.

First Publisher: 
Saturday Evening Post
First Publisher Date: 
November 14, 1936
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Edit Copy Publisher: 
Vintage International
Edit Copy Publisher Location: 
New York
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How to cite this resource:
Joiner, Jennie J., and Taylor Hagood. "Faulkner's 'The Unvanquished.'" Added to the project: 2013.  Additional editing 2020: Johannes H. Burgers, Theresa M. Towner. Digital Yoknapatawpha, University of Virginia, http://faulkner.iath.virginia.edu