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Lee, Hermione. Willa Cather. 2004. Commentary Magazine. 13 January 2005 <http://www.commentarymagazine.com/Summaries/V90I3P62-1.htm>.
Willa Cather wrote about the spirit and heart of America
"Willa Cather's subject was America. The country 'works on my mind,' she said in 1925, 'like light on a photographic plate.'"
Willa Cather’s Style of Writing. 2004. 13 January 2005 <http://www.termpapers4u.com/general/cather.htm>.
Willa Cather could be considered an early feminist.
"Willa refused to accept her generation’s idea that women should be passive, domestic, and uneducated. Instead, she pursued an active literary life and a world perspective that gave her work universal appeal."
Nichols, R. Art in Willa Cather's Fiction. 20 July 2003. Pittsburgh State University. 13 January 2005 <http://faculty.pittstate.edu/~knichols/cathart5.html>.
Willa Cather was influenced by art of varying kinds.
"It was a painting, by the way, that made the first scene of that story [Death Comes for the Archbishop] for me. A French painter, Vibert, one who did a precise piece of work in the manner of his day, called 'The Missionary's Return.'" -Willa Cather
Parry, David. Willa Cather and the Burlington Railroad. June 2000. University of Nebraska Lincoln.13 January 2005 <http://cather.unl.edu/scholarship/criticalstudies/index.htm>.
"Willa Cather, an astute observer, used the fabric of life around her in her books; no where more effectively than with her use of railroads."
Parry, David. Willa Cather and the Burlington Railroad. June 2000. University of Nebraska Lincoln.13 January 2005 <http://cather.unl.edu/scholarship/criticalstudies/index.htm>.
"Cather was a skillful observer of people and how they lived. As a young girl, she, as countless other children, haunted the red railroad depot which was the center of the universe in so many western towns. What is fascinating about Cather is that she got the railroad details of her novels' settings right. This is not surprising since it was the railroad that linked her many worlds for her entire life. Cather used railroad settings in her works and this background is pure Burlington."
Parry, David. Willa Cather and the Burlington Railroad. June 2000. University of Nebraska Lincoln.13 January 2005 <http://cather.unl.edu/scholarship/criticalstudies/index.htm>.
"Her 1903 poem, "The Night Express" in April Twilights, Cather's first use of railroad imagery, while perhaps reflecting the morbid melodrama of a young writer, is clearly a description of Red Cloud and the Burlington station that still stands near the marshes of the Republican River."
Parry, David. Willa Cather and the Burlington Railroad. June 2000. University of Nebraska Lincoln.13 January 2005 <http://cather.unl.edu/scholarship/criticalstudies/index.htm>.
"The opening of "A Death in the Desert" shows that Cather knew her Burlington. Few others could have captured the slow, desultory journey on the Burlington's remote High Line from Holdrege to Cheyenne."
Duryea, Polly P..Paintings and Drawings in Willa Cather's Prose: A Catalogue Raisonné. Univeristy of Neraska, Lincoln. 13 January 2005 <http://cather.unl.edu/scholarship/reference/duryea/>.
"The active period of Cather's pictorial experience began in Lincoln. Parents of her University of Nebraska friends provided an entirely new milieu for Cather in the world of fine art. The Pounds, the Canfields, and the Gere family were knowledgeable patrons actively promoting the arts in the growing Nebraska Capitol. For the first time Cather met young people who studied Art, and the University Library held a number of art books that reproduced paintings from Botticelli to Burne-Jones, from Piranesi to Puvis de Chavannes. While she worked for her degree Cather read John Ruskin religiously and became increasingly interested in the fine arts during her university years."
Duryea, Polly P..Paintings and Drawings in Willa Cather's Prose: A Catalogue Raisonné. Univeristy of Neraska, Lincoln. 13 January 2005 <http://cather.unl.edu/scholarship/reference/duryea/>.
"By Spring, on February 20, 1894, Cather was becoming so knowledgeable about art that she was scheduled to lecture on "Houses and Homes of England and Germany" to the Haydon Art Club, in the Chapel of the State University."
Duryea, Polly P..Paintings and Drawings in Willa Cather's Prose: A Catalogue Raisonné. Univeristy of Neraska, Lincoln. 13 January 2005 <http://cather.unl.edu/scholarship/reference/duryea/>.
"In 1902, Willa Cather and Isabelle McClung sailed to Europe, landed at Liverpool, England. They met Dorothy Canfield, a former Lincoln, Nebraska friend then in London. Immediately, Cather was surrounded by Old World architecture and fine art in that magnificent city. She glimpsed the Old Masters in the National Gallery of Art, and perhaps went to the Tate, or the Courtauld Collection. In Kensington, she trudged through the studios of Burne-Jones, Rossetti, Watts, and Lord Leighton. His extraordinary house-studio remains open to the public today, and a visit there brings back the era most vividly. "
Duryea, Polly P..Paintings and Drawings in Willa Cather's Prose: A Catalogue Raisonné. Univeristy of Neraska, Lincoln. 13 January 2005 <http://cather.unl.edu/scholarship/reference/duryea/>.
"After returning to America Cather used the artistic material from Europe in some of her short stories, some of it in a symbolic and suggestive manner. Professor Bernice Slote has written that "Willa Cather liked symbols, magic, suggestion, and myth. There is enough evidence to suggest that she did try some complex and subtle designs in her fiction, usually giving clues in names, places,details, quotations. No allusions were irrelevant""
Duryea, Polly P..Paintings and Drawings in Willa Cather's Prose: A Catalogue Raisonné. Univeristy of Neraska, Lincoln. 13 January 2005 <http://cather.unl.edu/scholarship/reference/duryea/>.
"After leaving Pittsburgh for work in New York City, Cather moved to Greenwich Village, where she lived near painters like Don Hedger, in her story "Come, Eden Bower." While living in Boston in her apartment on Chestnut Street, Cather could walk to the grand home of Mrs. Annie (James T.) Fields."
Newstrom, Scott. Willa Cather. 5 March 2002. Gustavus Adolphus University.13 January 2005 <http://www.uic.edu/depts/quic/history/willa_cather.html>
When Cather first arrived on campus of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, she was dressed as her same sex twin, William Cather.
Newstrom, Scott. Willa Cather. 5 March 2002. Gustavus Adolphus University.13 January 2005 <http://www.uic.edu/depts/quic/history/willa_cather.html>
During her tenure at college, she fell in love with Louise Pound, a student athlete.
Newstrom, Scott. Willa Cather. 5 March 2002. Gustavus Adolphus University.13 January 2005 <http://www.uic.edu/depts/quic/history/willa_cather.html>
Cather was probably a lesbian and put some gay aspects into some of her novels however, "Cather never wrote openly about lesbian or gay themes. Much her work, however, can be interpreted with a lesbian or gay subtext if one knows to look for the clues. Nothing overt would have been tolerated by the publishers (and probably by the reading public as well)."
Newstrom, Scott. Willa Cather. 5 March 2002. Gustavus Adolphus University.13 January 2005 <http://www.uic.edu/depts/quic/history/willa_cather.html>
Close Friend.
"While living in Pittsburgh, her residence most of the time was the home of Judge S. A. McClung, whose daughter, Isabel, was her close friend. Isabel married a musician, Jan Hambourg, and later moved to Paris. Much of Miss Cather's musical knowledge and interest came about through this association."
Will(el)a (Siebert) Cather (1873-1947). 2003. Books and Authors. 13 January 2005 <http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/wcather.htm>
"In 1890 Cather moved to Lincoln to escape the conservatism of the small town - she never married but in later life in New York she found a lifelong companion, Edith Lewis."
Will(el)a (Siebert) Cather (1873-1947). 2003. Books and Authors. 13 January 2005 <http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/wcather.htm>
"After receiving her BA in 1895, Cather lived in Pittsburg with Isabelle McClung"
Will(el)a (Siebert) Cather (1873-1947). 2003. Books and Authors. 13 January 2005 <http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/wcather.htm>
"In 1922 Cather won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel ONE OF OURS, which depicted a boy from the Western plains, who leaves home to fight in World War I and is killed in France. Ernest Hemingway, in a letter to the critic Edmund Wilson, expressed disdain at Cather's having received the prize, remarking that she must have drawn the battlefield scene from the film Birth of a Nation."
About Willa Cather. The Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial. 13 January 2005 <http://www.willacather.org/aboutcather.htm>
"Willa Cather was born in Virginia in 1873 and moved with her family to live in Webster County at the age of nine. After graduating from Red Cloud High School in 1899, she attended the university in Lincoln, Nebraska for five years, then moved to the east coast for the remainder of her life. She died in 1947 and was buried in New Hampshire."
x
"The years in Red Cloud were important and formative years in the writer's life. Six of her twelve novels are set in the Red Cloud and Webster County of her youth, including One of Ours, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1922."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Her fiction is unique in its powerful representation of setting and character and rich in its language and imagery. Her style of writing is condensed and subtle, but nonetheless tremendously expressive."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Willa Cather is one of the most interesting women writers in American literary history. Both a teacher, a journalist and a critic as well as a writer, Cather plays an important part in the shaping of American modernist thought and writings."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Cather's work is a highly personal and passionate matter - a feature, which on occasion has led to wrongful misconceptions of the nature of her art. Many of the characters in Cather's fictional works are inspired by real life people that Cather knew or had heard of. There is thus often a noticeable (auto)biographical strain to be found in her works. In the same way, her most frequently used settings are places she knew well - especially the frontier environment of her native Nebraska"
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Cather has often been dismissed as a sentimentalist and a local colorist. In such characterizations are implied that she is an author not to be taken seriously. However, this judgement is a grave misrepresentation of her work, as it is a mistake to interpret her works solely in terms of these features"
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"In general, Cather as one of her most significant qualities mastered the art of expressing the common through the specific. Her work thus reveals a fundamental understanding of human nature and experience even if so firmly rooted in her own life."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"although she is primarily known for her fictional writing, Willa Cather's critical writing presents an interesting and valuable supplement to any study of her work. Most importantly, her critical work, just as some of her fictional work, reveals a passionate interest in art - specifically the nature and purpose of fictional art."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Aside from being a great writer of fiction, Willa Cather was also an accomplished literary critic even if this was not her main concern. Hence, her critical work constitutes both an interesting supplement to and a valuable perspective on her fictional work."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"The frontier, this most American of all place, is an important setting in many of Cather's narratives - a setting that has a thematic content of its own. It is, in a way, a mythical space of the past and an intangible landscape of the mind as well as a very real place for the characters. In Cather's narratives, it is thus a setting which greatly influences the lives of the people who are born and who live there - and its reality is often contrasted to the artificiality of life in the city. At the same time, the mythic function of the frontier as a unique catalyst for a.o.t. regeneration and democratization is always somehow present in her work."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Cather herself grew up in the American Midwest - in Nebraska - in a town which at that time epitomized the frontier with its yeoman farmers and rough landscape. There are thus many ways to study her writing in terms of her attitudes toward her native land and the effect it had on her life - as well as the inescapable effect this geographic and mythic space has on her characters."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Cather was fascinated by Europe and European history, art, and literature from a very early age. There is a sense in which she felt a connection with Europe, probably as a result of growing up in a town largely populated with recent immigrants - people of European descent."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"In her narratives, Cather often juxtaposes the Old World of Europe with the New World in America. To some of her characters the encounter with European culture is a life-changing experience. In a way, it seems that her ideal society is one in which the best of European traditions are fused with the best of American frontier experience."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"The theme of history can be dealt with on many levels in connection with Cather's stories. It is useful both to consider the role of the personal history of an individual and the history of a town, a country or a continent. All these histories play an important role in Cather's fiction. Additionally, the idea of narration as such - that is the telling of (hi)stories - can be dealt with in terms of her stories, especially considering her frequent use of flashbacks and characters' retrospection."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Many of Cather's main characters are immigrants or of immigrant descent - and this fact is often the dominant force shaping their life and directing their destiny. The idea of being transplanted from old to new soil - the sacrifices, hopes and conflicts connected with such a fundamental change in life - is an almost ever-present theme in Cather's narratives."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Love - to Cather - is not to be seen only in the narrow sense of the love between a man and a woman - and it was most certainly not to be seen as an entirely positive feeling. The choices her characters make for the sake of love or in search of love provide the focus for a very interesting approach to her work."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"The question of the nature of love - and especially the possibility of undying and devoted love - runs like an ever-present current beneath many of Cather's stories, which often deal with the sacrifices people are willing to make for love."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"It is also very useful to study Cather from the perspective of her depiction of nature and landscape - not just as a setting, but as a presence interacting with the people who inhabit it."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Nature is often portrayed as the real and present antithesis to the artificiality of life in the big city. The landscape of the frontier in Cather's narratives is often infused with a strong spirituality - in such a sense that nature seems to have a life of its own."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"The lives of the pioneers on the American frontier is a theme that is present in most of Cather's narratives - it may be more or less dominant - and it was not her main concern in the beginning of her career as a writer - but it is a theme so deeply linked to her own life that she almost never could escape it."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Cather's depiction of pioneer life can be seen as revealing both great knowledge and understanding and a deep-felt love and respect for the people who lived such a life."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Throughout her life - but especially after 1922 - Cather was concerned with the decline of spirituality in an increasingly materialistic American society. This concern led her to explore the nature of faith, religion and spirituality in a number of novels and stories."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"The portrayal of heroic women and their struggle in life is a central theme in many of Cather's narratives - and well worth focusing on. Especially the idea of being a "woman in a man's world" and the consequences of women's choices - in terms of career, love and friendship."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"If studying the theme of religion and spirituality it is very useful to look at the way in which Cather uses the distinction between Catholicism and Protestantism. "
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Cather was herself protestant, she came from a very religious family (esp. her paternal grandparents) and she joined the Episcopal Church in 1922 in her search for spirituality, but at the same time she was fascinated with the grandeur and ceremony of Catholicism, and she often writes about characters with a Catholic background."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"It is possible to study Cather's work from a feministic point of view - her subject matter and her main characters as well as her own (emotional) life almost seem to invite such an approach."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"But it is also important to remember that Cather did not consider herself a feminist writer. Often she even dismissed women writers as overly sentimental and incapable of writing, for instance, poetry. "
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Reading Cather's work while focusing on how she applies and makes use of her own theories of art and fiction is very rewarding in terms of understanding the style and form of the narrative."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"It is very useful to study Cather as a modernist writer, as she shared many of her preoccupations with other modernist writers - both the expatriate and the ones who stayed in America. "
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"In the case of Cather, these preoccupations are mostly thematic and revolve around the state of modern society in America as opposed to earlier times, a kind of nostalgia for a past forever lost, and a corresponding fascination with European history"
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"It is also reflected in the careful attention to form that can be found in her fiction, but Cather in many ways are not to be considered a typical modernist writer, which is noticeably in for instance her treatment of subjectivity. As opposed to many other modernist, who focused on depicting the individuality of human experience, it seems she often tried to express the universality of it."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Much of Cather's most acclaimed critical work deal with the demands of realism - what does it take for a piece of fictional work to be considered realist(ic) - the issue of representation of character and setting often being the main concern. Cather did not believe in the kind of realism that became a catalogue of physical objects - to her it was rather a question of communicating a feeling of reality to the reader with a kind of "less is more" philosophy behind."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
" It is very rewarding to study Cather's works in relation to her own ideas about realism - focusing on for instance how she represents character and setting through suggestion rather than statements."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Studying Cather from the perspective of her regional rootedness is one of the obvious approaches to her work, but also one of the most rewarding as it allows you to draw upon many of the most central themes in her narratives - pioneers, immigrants, and the frontier experience."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/>
"Aside from being a great writer of fiction, Willa Cather was also an accomplished literary critic even if this was not her main concern. Hence, her critical work constitutes both an interesting supplement to and a valuable perspective on her fictional work."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 <http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/criticism.htm>
"A posthumous (1949) collection of some central pieces of Cather's critical writing with a foreword (The Room Beyond) by Stephen Tennant. The volume includes four letters in which Cather discusses a.o.t. some of her major novels (Death Comes for the Archbishop, The Professor's House, Shadows on the Rock), The Novel Demeublé and four prefaces to works by other authors."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/criticism.htm/>
"She argues that realism is merely an attitude on the part of the writer towards his material – an acceptance, rather than a choice of theme. It is also about selecting the "eternal material of art" from the "gleeming stream of the present". The essence of realism is what is felt on the page – even if it is not directly mentioned in words."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/criticism.htm/>
"Thus, she directly challenged the tendency in realist fiction to overlook character and focus on cataloguing inanimate objects. She refused to see this as realism and art, and called it instead an advanced form of journalism. What she sought was descriptions that through mere suggestion emphasized the universality of human experience."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/fiction.htm>
"Cather did not really take herself seriously as a poet - she believed that women should not write poetry at all - but during her Pittsburgh years, she nevertheless wrote rather steadily and April Twilights was her first collected published work. She, however, later regretted the publication."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/fiction.htm>
"The poems are modernist in nature, many of them exploring the themes of nostalgia and loss. Most significantly, Cather was deeply involved with the Arcadian theme: the lament for the lost glories of a grander past. The form of the poems is generally highly traditional and inspired by Cather's preference for classical and romantic poetry. Seven of them are sonnets and the rest use regular stanzas and conventional rhyme schemes. The language is lofty and makes frequent use of archaic forms."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/fiction.htm>
"Like everything else Cather wrote, her poetry is related to the entire body of her writing. Just as the early stories explore themes and motifs that later appear in her mature fiction, so do the poems."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/fiction.htm>
"Cather was very interested in the lives of artists and musicians - a subject matter often recurring in her novels as well as in this first published collection of short fiction. At this point in Cather's career, the East still had most of her attention - and five of the tales take place in Pittsburgh and New York, London and Boston. The Boston story is about the West, but only two of the stories are laid in western towns."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"In 1895, she graduated from University of Nebraska in Lincoln and thus became one of the very few women at that time to achieve a college education. Her studies had led her toward a creative life and career – she had composed several short stories as well as worked for the Nebraska Journal writing reviews of books, plays and music. "
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"After graduating, Cather continued along the same lines and took an editorial job at a magazine in Pittsburg until five years later, when she started teaching high school English. She did not give up her creative work, though. While teaching Willa Cather published her first literary work – April Twilights (1903), a book of poetry, and a collection of short stories, The Troll Garden (1905)."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"in 1906, she moved to New York City to work as editor of the famous McClure’s magazine. Here, in 1908, she met the New England regional writer, Sarah Orne Jewett, who was to become her lifelong friend. With her quiet celebration of life on the land, Sarah Orne Jewett was probably also one of the main influences on Cather’s art."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"Willa Cather published her first novel, Alexander’s Bridge, in 1912. She was 40 years old at the time and felt ready to enter the literary scene. Her next three novels, O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), and My Ántonia (1918), shared a common theme of heroic womanhood in the face of great hardship, and they firmly established her as an important writer on the American literary scene. She had started on the path that would place her among the most important modernist women writers."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"Cather never had any romantic interest in men – her emotional life centered around women. Whether lesbian or not, which is a question greatly debated, her estrangement from conventional sexuality and sex roles is a major underlying theme in most of her writings and it shapes many of her main characters. In her personal life, Cather lived with Edith Lewis, another Nebraskan which she had met in 1903, from 1908 until her death in 1947."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"Despite her relatively happy, personal life (even if marred by poor health), Cather became increasingly distressed with the world around her. She – like so many other modernist writers – was troubled by the growing mechanization and mass-produced quality of American society."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"In 1922, she wrote that the world broke in two for her. This was also the time when her writing took a new direction and became more concerned with finding alternative values to the materialistic life she increasingly felt around her. Both of the novels from this second stage, A Lost Lady (1923) and The Professor’s House (1925), deal with spiritual and cultural crisis for the main characters. The frustration with modern society and the sense of spiritual decay were also reflected in Willa Cather’s personal life, when she, parallel to entering her new line of writing, in 1922 joined the Episcopal Church"
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"In 1926, Willa Cather’s writings entered into their third stage. This period was initiated by the novel Death Comes for the Archbishop in which Cather reveals a newfound theme – the vanished past of the American Southwest where nature and Christianity is opposed to modern urban life and society. This highly critical view of the present as opposed to the past, which she shared with most modernists, became more pronounced as she grew older."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"Alongside her fictional writing, Cather was also an accomplished literary critic who produced an extensive body of critical work on the nature of art and its function in life. Her view as a critic on literature and art noticeably permeates her own fictional writings in style, language as well as form."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"Generally, her main focus is the description of character over plot, but not at all with the same stress on subjectivity that characterized other women writers of the time. Rather she let a life unfold through a steady but loose accumulation of conversation and internal reminiscence with minimal intrusion by a narrator, and often keeping the reader at a distance – thereby choosing to evoke character rather than explain it. She once described her goal as "suggestion rather than enumeration."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
"she often gives priority to the expressiveness of setting and thus letting the individuality of the character disappear in favor of a portrayal of human nature against the background of nature."
Lindhard, Anne. Willa Cather Site. 13 January 2002. 13 January 2005 < http://fp.image.dk/fpemarxlind/biography.htm#From%20childhood%20to%20adulthood>
Cather’s style is very condensed, almost minimalistic – she often described her work as "unfurnished" – which gives a sense of ‘top of the iceberg’ quality much in line with Hemingway’s writing. She is undoubtedly among the most important American modernist writers.
Wells, Kim. Willa Cather. May 2003. Domestic Goddesses. 18 January 2005
<http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/cather1.htm>
"Cather once said that she belonged to a world that had split in two and, as a woman of two centuries-- the conservative nineteenth and the twentieth-- she certainly bridged quite a gap. She was the eldest child of seven, and, like her character Ántonia in her most famous novel, Cather moved to Nebraska when she was very young. Cather once said that during the trip from her birthplace in Virginia, she imagined that, "I had left even their spirits [her grandparents] behind me. The wagon jolted on, carrying me I knew not whither. . . . Between that earth and sky I felt erased, blotted out" (qtd in the foreword to My Ántonia x)."
Wells, Kim. Willa Cather. May 2003. Domestic Goddesses. 18 January 2005
<http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/cather1.htm>
"Cather understood the coming change between cultures; she saw the immigrant children, like Ántonia, moving away from the culture of their parents and into a kind of uneasy Americanism. She said of these new inhabitants of the Midwest, "It is perhaps natural that they should be very much interested in material comfort, in buying whatever is expensive and ugly" since they "were reared amid hardships" (qtd. in the foreword to My Ántonia xiii)."
Wells, Kim. Willa Cather. May 2003. Domestic Goddesses. 18 January 2005
<http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/cather1.htm>
"Besides a keen eye for the changes taking place in the country at the turn of the century, Cather wrote extensively about her own writing. She once said "when one comes to write all that you have been taught leaves you, all that you have stolen lies discovered. You are then a translator, without a lexicon, without notes. . . You have then to give voice to the hearts of men, and you can do it only so far as you have known them, loved them. It is a solemn and terrible thing to write a novel" (foreword xvii) . Cather's 1908 advice to another domestic goddess, Sarah Orne Jewett, was to "find a quiet place. . . find your own quiet center of life, and write from that" (foreword xvii)."
Wells, Kim. Willa Cather. May 2003. Domestic Goddesses. 18 January 2005
<http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/cather1.htm>
"Much of the criticism of Cather in the past has focused on the primacy of landscape, including the Nebraska plains and New Mexico, in Cather's work. Certainly she speaks of nature, but she also writes the most intimate pictures of the inner setting-- the heart, the soul, the home. Cather's work is not so much about "the prairie" but about the humans who lived there, and the human relationships that followed"
Wells, Kim. Willa Cather. May 2003. Domestic Goddesses. 18 January 2005
<http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/cather1.htm>
"There has been, and continues to be, speculation about Cather's personal life, and her relationships, often deeply emotional, with other women. Whatever her sexual orientation was, she did share intimate friendships, and these connections are found in the relationships between her characters. In addition to intense human interactions and nature imagery, Cather's work often comments on the arts-- on music, on painting, on all expressions of the impulse to create. Her work is sometimes romantic, sometimes naturalistic, but always, it compels discussion and thought."
Wells, Kim. Willa Cather. May 2003. Domestic Goddesses. 18 January 2005
<http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/cather1.htm>
"Another interesting study of book covers, for My Ántonia shows that while some artists choose to feature the prairie, others feature a young girl ostensibly on the prarie. Only one features, instead of an element of the story, the author's face, as though that were the most important feature (some might argue it is-- but what does this featuring imply?) None feature the narrator, Jim's, face, despite his dominance in the story"