Cover

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Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright

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Contents

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List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

Anne L. Kaufman and Richard H. Millington

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pp. ix-xxii

In the well-known studio photograph (c. 1910) that serves as the frontispiece for this volume, Willa Cather appears—to some advantage—wearing a “necklace given to her by Sarah Orne Jewett.” We propose this elegant image, with its implicit...

Part 1. Contexts

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1. Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, and the Historiography of Lesbian Sexuality

Melissa J. Homestead

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pp. 3-37

In late November of 1908 Sarah Orne Jewett wrote a much-quoted letter to Willa Cather, in which she responded to Cather’s story “The Gull’s Road,” just published in the December 1908 issue of McClure’s magazine:
[W]ith what deep happiness...

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2. Cather’s Readers, Traditionalism, and Modern America

Charles Johanningsmeier

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pp. 38-67

The debate about Cather’s relation to modernism has been quite a lively one during the past decade, in large part because a great deal is at stake in the determination of where exactly Cather and her works “fit” in American literary history...

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3. Time Out of Place: Modernity and the Rise of Environmentalism in Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!

Leila C. Nadir

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pp. 68-96

Willa Cather was notoriously skeptical of how modernity was transforming American life in the early twentieth century. In her 1923 Nation essay, “Nebraska: The End of the First Cycle,” she mourned the midwestern state she had moved to as...

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4. Contamination, Modernity, Health, and Art in Edith Wharton and Willa Cather

Susan Meyer

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pp. 97-132

In a 1920 issue of the magazine Primary Education a teacher named Florence A. Powell describes the lesson in personal health that she used in her own classroom. She instructed her students to draw and cut out a train. “What do we need to...

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6. Daughter of a War Lost, Won, and Evaded: Cather and the Ambiguities of the Civil War

Janis Stout

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pp. 133-149

Willa Cather’s noted contemporary Katherine Anne Porter once wrote, in her essay on the sources of her celebrated novella “Noon Wine,” that the “main occupation” of the writer is and must be “endless remembering” (468). For the most part...

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7. A [Slave] Girl’s Life in Virginia before the War: Willa Cather and Antebellum Nostalgia

John Jacobs

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pp. 150-166

Sapphira and the Slave Girl continues to be a troubling narrative for contemporary readers and commentators. Among its troubling aspects are questions of Cather’s sources for the narrative materials that happened before she was born. Certainly...

Part 2. Precursors and Influences

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8. Cather’s Jewett: Relationship, Influence,and Representation

Deborah Carlin

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pp. 169-188

Most Cather scholarship assumes, if not makes the case for, the enormous impact that Sarah Orne Jewett had upon Cather as both a model of female authorship and a mentor whose intervention was essential in helping to foster Cather’s emerging...

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9. Willa Cather and the Example of Henry James

Elsa Nettels

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pp. 189-222

The writer who most visibly influenced Cather at the beginning of her career was Henry James. She imitated James in a number of her short stories. She herself repudiated her first novel, Alexander’s Bridge, as a misguided attempt to write of...

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10. Kindred Spirits: Willa Cather and Henry James

John J. Murphy

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pp. 223-242

A decade or so ago the Library of America put out a flyer advertising its Cather and James editions with her and his portraits side by side on its cover. I felt that Cather would have been delighted to share space with “the Master.” Of course, to feel...

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11. The Rise of Godfrey St. Peter: Cather’s Modernism and the Howellsian Pretext

Joseph C. Murphy

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pp. 243-260

Recently, while preparing William Dean Howells’s The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885) for an American realism seminar, I sensed something familiar in this passage where Lapham shows the journalist Bartley Hubbard the orderly barrels stored behind...

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12. Echoes of Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage in Willa Cather’s One of Ours

Ann Moseley

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pp. 261-280

Willa Cather scholars who think of her in conjunction with Stephen Crane are apt to remember Bernice Slote’s apparent criticism of Cather’s article “When I Knew Stephen Crane” (1900) and to dismiss as unlikely any important connection between...

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13. Thackeray’s Henry Esmond and The Virginians: Literary Prototypes for My Mortal Enemy

Richard C. Harris

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pp. 281-299

My Mortal Enemy has long been considered Willa Cather’s most enigmatic work. Cather herself remarked in correspondence soon after the novel’s publication that it had been difficult to write and would likely be misunderstood (Cather to Fanny...

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14. “One Knows It Too Well to Know It Well”: Willa Cather, A. E. Housman, and A Shropshire Lad

Robert Thacker

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pp. 300-327

My title is taken from a line in Cather’s “A Chance Meeting,” an essay she first published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1933. It offers Cather’s account of her happenstance meeting with Madame Franklin Grout, Flaubert’s niece, during the summer...

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15. Following the Lieder: Cather, Schubert, and Lucy Gayheart

David Porter

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pp. 328-348

The 2011 International Cather International Seminar documented in dazzling array the degree to which Willa Cather drew upon authors and artists of the nineteenth century as inspiration for her writing. In the years following Cather’s move...

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16. Pompeii and the House of the Tragic Poet in A Lost Lady

Matthew Hokom

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pp. 349-373

As scholarship on Willa Cather has grown, critics have paid increasing attention to the allusive density of Cather’s novels, particularly to the ways which Cather’s subtle references to everything from painting to music to fiction carry meaning in...

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17. Making It New: O Pioneers! as Modernist Bildungsroman

Sarah Stoeckl

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pp. 374-394

Ezra Pound demanded that modern writers “make it new.” Readers generally connect his famous imperative to more pyrotechnic modernists such as T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and Pound himself, but the “it” in “make it new” implies something...

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Contributors

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pp. 395-400

Deborah Carlin is a professor of American literary and cultural studies and the associate chair of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of Cather, Canon, and the Politics of Reading (1992) and What’s Love...

Index

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pp. 401-415