Alexander's Bridge Cover

Alexander's Bridge

Book Club Resources

Alexander’s Bridge (1912) is Cather’s first novel about an ambitious engineer, Bartley Alexander. Bartley lives in Boston with his affluent wife, Winifred, a professional musician. From the outside, his life seems to be successful and happy, but on a work trip to London, Bartley reconnects with an old love, Hilda Burygone, also a musician. Split between the two women and the lives they represent, in Alexander’s Bridge, Bartley grapples with intense indecision and guilt. As the story continues, Bartley begins to question his own integrity and the life choices he has made. 

Though Cather later asked for her second novel, O Pioneers! to be considered her first real attempt at a book, Alexander’s Bridge is a necessary look into her early writing. Told from a more Eurocentric view than her later novels, this is Cather’s first attempt at long-form fiction and through the eyes of Bartley, hints of Cather’s unique voice begin to be heard.

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