Cather, Willa


Cather, Willa
orig. Wilella Sibert Cather

born Dec. 7, 1873, near Winchester, Va., U.S.
died April 24, 1947, New York, N.Y.

U.S. novelist.

Cather moved with her family to Nebraska at age 9; she returned east 12 years later, eventually settling in New York. The Troll Garden (1905), her first short-story collection, contains some of her best-known work. The novels O Pioneers! (1913) and My Ántonia (1918), often judged her finest achievement, celebrate frontier spirit and courage. Song of the Lark (1915), Youth and the Bright Medusa (1920), and other works reflect the struggle of a talent to emerge from small-town provincialism. One of Ours (1922, Pulitzer Prize) and A Lost Lady (1923) mourn the loss of the pioneer spirit. Pioneers of earlier eras also inspired Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927) and Shadows on the Rock (1931).

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▪ American author
in full  Wilella Sibert Cather 
born Dec. 7, 1873, near Winchester, Va., U.S.
died April 24, 1947, New York, N.Y.
 American novelist noted for her portrayals of the settlers and frontier life on the American plains.

      At age 9 Cather moved with her family from Virginia to frontier Nebraska, where from age 10 she lived in the village of Red Cloud. There she grew up among the immigrants from Europe—Swedes, Bohemians, Russians, and Germans—who were breaking the land on the Great Plains.

      At the University of Nebraska she showed a marked talent for journalism and story writing, and on graduating in 1895 she obtained a position in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on a family magazine. Later she worked as copy editor and music and drama editor of the Pittsburgh Leader. She turned to teaching in 1901 and in 1903 published her first book of verses, April Twilights. In 1905, after the publication of her first collection of short stories, The Troll Garden, she was appointed managing editor of McClure's, the New York muckraking monthly. After building up its declining circulation, she left in 1912 to devote herself wholly to writing novels.

      Cather's first novel, Alexander's Bridge (1912), was a factitious story of cosmopolitan life. Under the influence of Sarah Orne Jewett (Jewett, Sarah Orne)'s regionalism, however, she turned to her familiar Nebraska material. With O Pioneers! (1913) and My Ántonia (1918), which has frequently been adjudged 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), which won the Pulitzer Prize, and A Lost Lady (1923) mourned the passing of the pioneer spirit.

      In her earlier Song of the Lark (1915), as well as in the tales assembled in Youth and the Bright Medusa (1920), including the much-anthologized “Paul's Case,” and Lucy Gayheart (1935), Cather reflected the other side of her experience—the struggle of a talent to emerge from the constricting life of the prairies and the stifling effects of small-town life.

      A mature statement of both themes can be found in Obscure Destinies (1932). With success and middle age, however, Cather experienced a strong disillusionment, which was reflected in The Professor's House (1925) and her essays Not Under Forty (1936).

      Her solution was to write of the pioneer spirit of another age, 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). For the setting of her last novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940), she used the Virginia of her ancestors and her childhood.

Additional Reading
Biographies with analyses of her works include Sharon O'Brien, Willa Cather: The Emerging Voice (1987, reissued 1997); and James Woodress, Willa Cather: A Literary Life (1987). Critical interpretations are Merrill Maguire Skaggs, After the World Broke in Two: The Later Novels of Willa Cather (1990); Loretta Wasserman, Willa Cather: A Study of the Short Fiction (1991); Laura Winters, Willa Cather: Landscape and Exile (1993); Edward Wagenknecht, Willa Cather (1994); Joseph R. Urgo, Willa Cather and the Myth of American Migration (1995); Sally Peltier Harvey, Redefining the American Dream: The Novels of Willa Cather (1995); and Philip Gerber, Willa Cather, rev. ed. (1995).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cather, Willa — orig. Wilella Sibert Cather (7 dic. 1873, cerca de Winchester, Va., EE.UU.–24 abr. 1947, Nueva York, N.Y.). Novelista estadounidense. Se trasladó a Nebraska con su familia a los nueve años; regresó al este 12 años más tarde y finalmente se… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Cather, Willa —    см. Кэзер, Уилла …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

  • Cather,Willa Sibert — Cath·er (kăthʹər), Willa Sibert. 1873 1947. American author who wrote about frontier life. Her novel One of Ours (1922) won a Pulitzer Prize. * * * …   Universalium

  • Cather — Willa Cather. Willa Sibert Cather (* 7. Dezember 1873 bei Winchester, Virginia; † 24. April 1947 in New York City) war eine US amerikanische Schriftstellerin. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Willa Cather — Willa Sibert Cather (* 7. Dezember 1873 bei Winchester, Virginia; † 24. April 1947 in New York City) war eine US amerikanische Schriftstellerin. I …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Willa Sibert Cather — Willa Cather. Willa Sibert Cather (* 7. Dezember 1873 bei Winchester, Virginia; † 24. April 1947 in New York City) war eine US amerikanische Schriftstellerin. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • CATHER (W.) — CATHER WILLA (1873 1947) Tout commence un jour de mars 1883. Willa Cather a neuf ans. Sa famille, des fermiers de lointaine ascendance irlandaise installés en Virginie depuis l’époque coloniale, traverse des temps difficiles; la compagnie de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Willa Cather — Willa Sibert Cather Willa Cather en 1936. Activités Écrivain Naissance 7  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Willa Cather — noun United States writer who wrote about frontier life (1873 1947) • Syn: ↑Cather, ↑Willa Sibert Cather • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author * * * Willa Cather [ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cather — noun United States writer who wrote about frontier life (1873 1947) • Syn: ↑Willa Cather, ↑Willa Sibert Cather • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author …   Useful english dictionary


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