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American Writers: a journey through history is a permanent archive for educators, researchers and every one interested in the writers featured in the  C‑SPAN series.


IV








Born: Dec. 7, 1873 - Winchester, Virginia
Died: April 24, 1947 - New York City


In 1883 Cather moved with her family from Virginia to the Nebraska village of Red Cloud, where she grew up among the immigrants from Europe—Swedes, Bohemians, Russians, Germans—who were establishing homesteads on the Great Plains. After graduating
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Willa Cather, O Pioneers!
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from the University of Nebraska in 1895, she obtained a position in Pittsburgh on a family magazine. Later she worked as copy editor and music and drama editor of the Pittsburgh Leader. In 1903 she published her first book of verses, April Twilights. In 1905, after publishing her first collection of short stories, The Troll Garden, she was appointed managing editor of McClure's. She left in 1912 to devote herself wholly to writing novels.

After her first novel, Alexander's Bridge (1912), set in Boston and London, Cather turned to her familiar Nebraska for material. With O Pioneers! (1913) and My Antonia (1918), often called her finest achievement, she found her characteristic themes-the spirit and courage of the frontier she had known in her youth. One of Ours (1922, Pulitzer Prize) and A Lost Lady (1923) mourned the passing of the pioneer spirit.

Works by Willa Cather
April Twilights (1903)
The Troll Garden (1905)
Alexander's Bridge (1912)
O Pioneers! (1913)
Song of The Lark (1915)
My Antonia (1918)
Youth and The Bright Medusa (1920)
One of Ours (1922)
A Lost Lady (1923)
The Professor'S House (1925)
Death Comes For The Archbishop (1927)
Shadows On The Rock (1931)
Obscure Destinies (1932)
Not Under Forty (1936)
Saphhira and The Slave Girl (1940)
Song of The Lark (1915) and the tales assembled in Youth and The Bright Medusa (1920), including the much-anthologized "Paul's Case," described the other side of prairie life: the struggle of a talent to emerge from the stifling environment of the small town. A mature statement of both themes can be found in Obscure Destinies (1932), a group of three stories. With success and middle age, Cather experienced disillusionment, reflected in The Professor's House (1925) and her essays Not Under Forty (1936). Her solution was to write of the pioneer spirit of earlier eras, that of the French Catholic missionaries in the Southwest in Death Comes For The Archbishop (1927) and of the French Canadians at Quebec in Shadows On The Rock (1931). Her last novel, Saphhira and The Slave Girl (1940), marked a return to the Virginia of her ancestors.

Web sites about Willa Cather
The Willa Cather Archive
The Willa Cather Foundation



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