Willa Cather


Easton Press Willa Cather books

My Ántonia - 1995
Death Comes for the Archbishop - 2001

Franklin Library Willa Cather books

One of Ours - Pulitzer Prize Classics - 1977
My Ántonia - 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature - 1978
The Troll Garden & Obscure Destinies - Collected Stories of the World's Greatest Writers - 1981
My Ántonia - Family Library of the World's Great Books - 1981

Who is Willa Cather?

Willa Sibert Cather, born on December 7, 1873, near Winchester, Virginia, was an American novelist known for her depictions of the American frontier and the lives of pioneers. Cather's works are celebrated for their vivid descriptions, deep empathy, and exploration of themes such as the immigrant experience, the prairie landscape, and the evolving American identity. Cather's family moved to Nebraska in 1883 when she was nine years old, and the vast, open landscapes of the Midwest left a profound impression on her. She drew inspiration from her experiences on the Nebraska prairie for many of her later novels.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1895, Cather pursued a career in journalism and education. She worked as a teacher and a magazine editor in Pittsburgh and later in New York City. Her first published collection of short stories, The Troll Garden (1905), showcased her early talent as a writer. Cather's literary breakthrough came with her novels set on the American frontier. O Pioneers! (1913) and My Ántonia (1918) are two of her most notable works from this period. These novels explore the challenges and triumphs of immigrant families and pioneers in the Midwest, capturing the essence of the American experience during a time of great social and economic change. In 1922, Cather won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel One of Ours, a story that follows the life of a young man from Nebraska who becomes entangled in the events of World War I. Despite this recognition, Cather faced criticism for her departure from her earlier frontier themes.

Her early novels O Pioneers (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), and My Antonia (1918), depict life on the Midwestern Prairies in simple, straightforward manner. The characters in the early novels are notable for their calm resolution and quiet dignity. The prairies also provided the setting for her next three novels. One of Ours (1922) Pulitzer Prize, 1923), A Lost Lady (1923), and the Professor's House (1925).

Cather's later novels, including A Lost Lady (1923) and Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927), demonstrated her versatility as a writer and her ability to craft narratives that transcend regional settings. "Death Comes for the Archbishop" explores the challenges faced by Catholic missionaries in the American Southwest during the 19th century. Willa Cather remained a prominent figure in American literature throughout her career. Her writing style, characterized by lyrical prose and a deep understanding of the human experience, contributed to her enduring legacy. Cather passed away on April 24, 1947, in New York City. Her works continue to be widely read and studied, and she is remembered as one of the preeminent American novelists of the early 20th century.

Characterized by restraint, lucidity, and economy of construction, Willa Catcher's writing amply validates her thesis that fiction should serve as a vehicle for "the full play of emotions". Willa Cather's other works include Obscure Destinies (1931), a collection of three novelettes, and Not Under Forty (1836), a collection of essays.


One of Ours

One of Ours is Willa Cather's 1923 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the making of an American soldier. Claude Wheeler, the sensitive but aspiring protagonist, has ready access to his family's fortune but refuses to settle for it. Alienated from his uncaring father and pious mother, and rejected by a wife whose only love is missionary work, Claude is an idealist without ideals to cling to. Only when his country enters the Great War does he find the meaning of his life.

My Ántonia

My Ántonia is a novel published in 1918 by American writer Willa Cather, considered one of her best works.

The novel tells the stories of an orphaned boy from Virginia, Jim Burden, and the elder daughter in a family of Bohemian immigrants, Ántonia Shimerda, who are each brought as children to be pioneers in Nebraska towards the end of the 19th century. The first year in the very new place leaves strong impressions on both children, affecting them for life.

This novel is considered Cather's first masterpiece. Cather was praised for bringing the American West to life and making it personally interesting.

The Troll Garden Short Stories

This collection of Willa Cather stories her first book of fiction and the capstone of her early career is as relevant today as at the time of its initial publication. As different and individually distinguished as the seven stories may be, they share as their subject the role and status of the artist in American society. The passions, ambitions, and pretensions, the cant and the pathos of the art world, artists, pseudo-artists, aficionados, and dilettantes all are amply represented here in the midst of their foibles, grand affairs, and failures, drawn with great style and subtlety by a writer gathering her formidable powers. With the psychological precision of her early master Henry James and the practical wisdom and wit of her contemporary Edith Wharton, Cather shows us innocents seduced, sophisticates undone, marriages sundered, idealism compromised, and the rare soul uplifted by art.

Obscure Destinies

The jacket of the first edition of Obscure Destinies announced “Three New Stories of the West,” heralding Willa Cather’s return to what many thought of as “her” territory the Great Plains. These three stories, “Neighbour Rosicky,” “Old Mrs. Harris,” and “Two Friends,” reflected her return to the well of memory that had inspired the books that made her reputation.


Death Comes for the Archbishop

Willa Cather's best known novel is an epic almost mythic story of a single human life lived simply in the silence of the southwestern desert. In 1851 Father Jean Marie Latour comes to serve as the Apostolic Vicar to New Mexico. What he finds is a vast territory of red hills and tortuous arroyos, American by law but Mexican and Indian in custom and belief. In the almost forty years that follow, Latour spreads his faith in the only way he knows gently, all the while contending with an unforgiving landscape, derelict and sometimes openly rebellious priests, and his own loneliness. Out of these events, Cather gives us an indelible vision of life unfolding in a place where time itself seems suspended.

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