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Cather Studies, Volume 13: Willa Cather's Pittsburgh

Cather Studies, Volume 13: Willa Cather's Pittsburgh

NOTE: There will be a special 20% off promotion on this book through September 30, 2021.

The latest volume in the Cather Studies series from the University of Nebraska Press.

About the Book

Willa Cather wrote about the places she knew, including Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia. Often forgotten among these essential locations has been Pittsburgh. During the ten years Pittsburgh was her home (1896–1906), Cather worked as an editor, journalist, teacher, and freelance writer. She mixed with all sorts of people and formed friendships both ephemeral and lasting. She published extensively—and not just profiles and reviews but also a collection of poetry, April Twilights, and more than thirty short stories, including several collected in The Troll Garden that are now considered masterpieces: “A Death in the Desert,” “The Sculptor’s Funeral,” “A Wagner Matinee,” and “Paul’s Case.” During extended working vacations through 1916, she finished four novels in Pittsburgh.

Cather Studies, Volume 13 explores the myriad ways that these crucial years in Pittsburgh shaped Cather’s writing career and the artistic, professional, and personal connections she made there. With contributions from fourteen well-known Cather scholars, this collection of essays recognizes the importance Pittsburgh played in Cather’s life and work and deepens our appreciation of how her art examines and elucidates the human experience.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Introduction: Timothy W. Bintrim, James A. Jaap, and Kimberly Vanderlaan
  • Prologue: Becoming “Miss Cather from Pittsburgh” • Ann Romines
Part 1. East Meets West (Chapters 1-3)
  • Bicycles and Freedom in Red Cloud and Pittsburgh: Willa Cather’s Early Transformations of Place and Gender in “Tommy, the Unsentimental” • Daryl W. Palmer
  • Where Pagodas Rise on Every Hill: Romance as Resistance in “A Son of the Celestial” • Michael Gorman
  • The Boxer Rebellion, Pittsburgh’s Missionary Crisis, and “The Conversion of Sum Loo” • Timothy W. Bintrim
Part 2. Class Action: Retrying "Paul's Case" (Chapters 4-6)
  • Growing Pains: The City behind Cather’s Pittsburgh Classroom • Mary Ruth Ryder 
  • Big Steel and Class Consciousness in “Paul’s Case” Charmion Gustke
  • “The Most Exciting Attractions Are between Two Opposites That Never Meet”: Willa Cather and Andy Warhol • Todd Richardson
Part 3. Friendships, Literary and Musical (Chapters 7-9)
  • Willa Cather as Translator: The Pittsburgh “French Soirées” • Diane Prenatt 
  • A Collegial Friendship: Willa Cather and Ethel Herr Litchfield • John H. Flannigan 
  • Grave and God-Free: Ethelbert Nevin as a Pivotal Historical Source in “The Professor’s Commencement” and The Professor’s House • Kimberly Vanderlaan
Part 4. Later Stories (Chapters 10-12)
  • “I’m Working, I’m Working”: The Industrious Artist of Pittsburgh in Willa Cather’s The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine Publications • Kelsey Squire 
  • Venetian Window: Pittsburgh Glass and Modernist Community in “Double Birthday” • Joseph C. Murphy 
  • Cather’s Pittsburgh and the Alchemy of Social Class • Angela Conrad
End Matter
  • Epilogue: Why Willa Cather? A Retrospective • John J. Murphy
  • Contributors
  • Index


Timothy W. Bintrim is a professor of English at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. James A. Jaap is a teaching professor of English and the assistant chief academic officer at the Greater Allegheny campus of the Pennsylvania State University. Kimberly Vanderlaan is an associate professor of English at California University of Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.

Published by University of Nebraska Press: July 2021
Cather Studies Series
Paperback: 378 pages
19 photographs, 6 illustrations, 1 map, index