Unfinished Cathedral is the third volume of T.S. Stribling’s Southern trilogy and was originally published in 1934. The trilogy, Stribling’s greatest literary achievement, is set in and around Florence, Alabama, and spans six decades of social, economic, and political change from the Civil War and Reconstruction to the 1920s. In each of the novels Stribling brings together the various social classes of the period, revealing their interdependency. The Forge is the story of the South during the period of the Civil War and Reconstruction, while The Store chronicles the changing social and economic landscape of the post-Reconstruction period and the rise to power of the mercantile class in the reconstructed South. In Unfinished Cathedral, Stribling continues the story of the dramatic transformation in the social structure of the South. The 1920s saw the control of society shift from the wealthy landowners and merchants to the rising middle class. This period also saw significant changes in the status of Southern women and blacks, and economically, a surge of prosperity was evident that was brought on by the land boom and the resulting influx of Northern dollars.
The University of Alabama Press reissued the first two novels in T.S. Stribling’s trilogy, The Forge and The Store, in 1985.