In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

132 Western American Literature Miss Cather as a lesbian.” In his preface, Wagenknecht muses that “Miss Cather must hate many recent ‘interpretations’ofherwork that make her over into what she was not.”Wagenknecht’s Willa Catherhas earned a place on my shelf of “favorite”books on Cather, along with Woodress, Rosowski, Murphy, Stouck, Skaggs, and Arnold. ANN MOSELEY East Texas State University Cather Studies, Volume 2. Edited by Susan J. Rosowski. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993. 185 pages, $30.00.) The second installment in this biennial gathering sacrifices some quality in pursuit of contemporary approaches, although several traditionalists are represented and do crediblejobs. Loretta Wasserman carefully traces Cather’s execution ofJewish charac­ ters from the early, slack portrait ofLichtenstein in “The Marriage of Phaedra” to the sympathetically wrought Rosens in “Old Mrs. Harris” but less convinc­ ingly cites the novelist’s allegorical bent to excuse some obvious prejudice. Merrill Maguire Scaggs adds to our understanding of Cather’s use of Francis Parkman’s histories in Shadows on the Rock as Edward and Lillian Bloom did years ago with W.J. Howlett’s biography of Bishop Machebeuf as a source of Death Comesfor the Archbishop, exploring the artistic process of selection and embroidering.James Woodress’scomparison of Cather and Alphonse Daudet (one of her masters) as kindred spirits poses the possibility that Daudet might have inspired Cather to remain single. A new Cather voice, Matthias Schubnell, ably evaluates Godfrey St. Peter and Tom Outland in TheProfessor's House as representative of historian Oswald Spengler’s final phase of civiliza­ tion, seeing the professor as petrified between urban and pastoral worlds and Tom divided between mystical appreciation and scientific inquiry. Spengler’s description of historical decline characterizes some of the other essays: “All art, all religion and science, become slowly intellectualized, alien to the land, incomprehensible to the peasant of the soil.”Ann FisherWirth ’slengthy analysis of My Antonia is blurred by excessive theorizing, which is unfortunate because it attempts to integrate insights on the novel badly in need of integration: circular and linear plot movement, regression and asser­ tion of self, language substitution for the lost mother, and Cather’s attitude toward the male pastoral tradition. According toJean Schwind’s shrill feminist logic, Father Duchene’s speculation on the fate of mummy Eve becomes paradigmatic of the frame-up suffered by each woman in The Professor’s House and Tom Outland emerges as an ungrateful, double-dealing villain. Less rigid is Linda Chown’s contribution to the growing appreciation of Harry Gordon’s role in Lucy Gayheart as negotiator between Sebastian’s past and Lucy’s future. Reviews 133 John H. Flannigan’sattempt to relate ‘The Garden Lodge”to Cather’s lesbian identity is insightful if a bit more contorted than necessary, and Robert K. Miller, in the last piece, somehow manages to avoid controversy in attributing Myra Henshawe’s resilient character in My Mortal Enemy to race, specifically her Celtic blood. Perhaps the mixture of quality and approaches defining this collection is the best way to measure the progress and direction of Cather studies. It is an area of significant energy, even when it works at cross purposes. JOHNJ. MURPHY Brigham Young University Uncollected Early Prose ofKatherine Anne Porter. Edited by Ruth M. Alvarez and Thomas F. Walsh. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993. 282 pages, $35.00.) The literature of the American West frequently intersects with Mexican locales. Even though Katherine Anne Porter projected the image of a South­ erner throughout most of her literary life, her roots are Texan and her apprenticeship took place in Mexico. This book expands the canon of her available writings by making accessible early stories and essays as well as extensive notes to uncompleted works and thereby revealing Porter’s slow but sure process of familiarization with Mexican culture. Here finally are so many of Porter’sworkswhich Thomas Walsh used to build his argument in his study of 1992, KatherineAnnePorterand Mexico. All pieces date from before 1932, and many are every bit as good as those Porter chose herselffor her CollectedEssays and Occasional Writings. The temporal and geographical focus mirror the personal fascination Porter had with Mexico throughout the nineteen-twenties . Alvarez...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 132-133
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.