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The Unvanquished: The Corrected Text Paperback – October 29, 1991

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Set in Mississippi during the Civil War and Reconstruction, THE UNVANQUISHED focuses on the Sartoris family, who, with their code of personal responsibility and courage, stand for the best of the Old South's traditions.

About the Author

Born in 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi, William Faulkner was the son of a family proud of their prominent role in the history of the south. He grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, and left high school at fifteen to work in his grandfather's bank. Rejected by the US military in 1915, he joined the Canadian flyers with the RAF, but was still in training when the war ended. Returning home, he studied at the University of Mississippi and visited Europe briefly in 1925. His first poem was published in The New Republic in 1919. His first book of verse and early novels followed, but his major work began with the publication of The Sound and the Fury in 1929. As I Lay Dying (1930), Sanctuary (1931), Light in August (1932), Absalom, Absalom! (1936) and The Wild Palms (1939) are the key works of his great creative period leading up to Intruder in the Dust (1948). During the 1930s, he worked in Hollywood on film scripts, notably The Blue Lamp, co-written with Raymond Chandler. William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 and the Pulitzer Prize for The Reivers just before his death in July 1962. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (October 29, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679736522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679736523
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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89 of 92 people found the following review helpful By M. E. on July 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book, in my opinion, is the best introduction to Faulkner possible where the reader has a chance to become accustomed to the sentence structure (to some extent: the longest sentence in The Unvanquished doesn't seem to run for even a page, making this quite simplistic by Faulknerian standards) without having to worry about an overly confused plot. Although there are parts where the reader will have to back up and read a passage over, it is far more straightforward than others of Faulkner's works.
This story chronicles the growth of Bayard Sartoris from the child who thinks war is a game (even though it isn't all that far from him) and can't imagine the consequences when he plays his games a little too close to the Yankees (Ambuscade) into a man who, when faced with the tragedy of his father's demise, must make this decision: who lives by the sword shall die by it--is it time to change the Southern tradition of bloodshed?
It is also the story of the South as it undergoes its most severe upheaval in its history: the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the effect on its people.
In my opinion, the best way to get acquainted with Faulkner is to begin with The Unvanquished. Once you're done with that, I suggest Intruder in the Dust. Be warned, though, that the latter isn't nearly as simple as The Unvanquished and there is a sentence that (if I recall correctly) runs for five or six pages (or more, but I'm not entirely sure). The good thing, at least, is that you can get used to the confusing syntax while the plot is still reasonably clear: what is clearer than a murder mystery and story of racial injustice (which, as the reader will gather from The Unvanquished, is one of the themes with which Faulkner is concerned in almost all his works)?
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Ginneyd on February 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you haven't read any of Faulkner's works, this is a good place to begin. The Sartoris family lives through Faulkner's books. The plot centers on the familiy's personal experiences in the South during the Civil War. History comes alive on the pages of The Unvanquished, and the reader gains a better understanding of the Confederate viewpoint by witnessing the southern struggle to survive the destruction of their homes, families, and way of life. I heartily recommend this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Luis M. Luque on May 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you've never read a Faulkner novel, this is the perfect place to get your feet wet. I did exactly the opposite, starting with THE SOUND AND THE FURY, AS I LAY DYING and ABSALOM, ABSALOM! Had I read this first, I might have been more accustomed to Faulkner's difficulties (i.e. using pronouns to keep the reader guessing, frequent repetition of key phrases, his habitual use of images and symbols, frequent allusions to the Bible, occasional use of obscure vocabulary, the provision of minimal context to action -- especially early on, lengthy sentences and italic text to indicate a character's interior monologue) and not had to struggle so much when reading his masterpieces.

The characters and stories here (and please, read THE UNVANQUISHED as a collection of short stories told chronologically, rather than as a novel) are more simple and fun than his novels. And perhaps that's because he was taking a break from his most serious and difficult work and needed money and a vacation from ABSALOM, ABSALOM! The stories here progress in Faulknerian difficulty, the amount of Southern Gothic tragedy they depict, and the complexity and intricacy of the plots as the book goes along. By the time you're finished reading it, you're ready for SANCTUARY, THE WILD PALMS or LIGHT IN AUGUST.

But to dismiss THE UNVANQUISHED as a lesser work somehow, because the stories are more accessable, is to make a big mistake. The stories are teeming with beautiful prose and haunting storytelling, and they have a great deal to reveal about what the South endured during and immediately after the Civil War and about the mindset of Southerners at the time and for a long time afterward.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
There is a particular "French connection" with this novel, and there is an overall connection between the French people and William Faulkner, and none of the other reviewers have raised this matter. It was the subject of a recent article in "The Guardian," which said that he was the second favorite French author, beating Flaubert, Stendhal, Baudelaire, de Beauvoir, Camus and Celine. Only Marcel Proust was ranked ahead of him. Faulkner spent only a very limited period in France, once during the 20's, and once in 1945 when he worked with the film director, Renoir. Apparently the peasant revolt in the Vendee, led by the clerics, against the forces of the French revolution, resonated with his feelings about the "lost cause" of the South's fight in the American Civil War. For some reason, certainly not evident to me, he entitled the chapter concerning Bayard and Ringo's (who was apparently named after the French victory at Marengo) hunt for Grumby as "Vendee." Furthering some of the inexplicable possible connections on this matter, in Honore de Balzac's great novel on the Vendee revolt, entitled "Les Chouans," the first chapter is "Ambuscade," the same name that Faulkner used for the first chapter in this book. Mere coincidence?

Aside from French connections, the style and content in Faulkner's novels continues to dazzle, and "The Unvanquished" is no exception. The chapters are set during the Civil War, starting with the fall of Vicksburg, through the 10 year period of Reconstruction following the war. The setting is the familiar, to Faulkner readers, Yoknapatawpha County, in northwestern Mississippi.
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