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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Virtual Book Talk with Julie Olin-Ammentorp

Virtual Book Talk with Julie Olin-Ammentorp

Thursday, February 18, 2021 - 7:00pm

Join us for an enlightening book talk with Julie Olin-Ammentorp, who will discuss her book Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and the Place of Culture. Olin-Ammentorp will be joined by National Willa Cather Center archivist Tracy Tucker, as she discusses the at once parallel and distinct lives of two of America's greatest writers. Ticket holders will receive a Zoom link to this event before the event's start time. All virtual events are scheduled for central standard time, and ticket sales will end at noon on the day of the event. 

Edith Wharton and Willa Cather wrote many of the most enduring American novels of the first half of the twentieth century, including Wharton’s The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence, and Cather’s My Ántonia and Death Comes for the Archbishop. Yet despite their status and their perennial popularity, Wharton (1862-1937) and Cather (1873-1947) have rarely been studied together. On the contrary, critics have often kept them at a distance: Wharton is seen as a literary aristocrat, an author who chronicles the lives of an east coast, Europe-bound elite, and Cather as a prairie populist who describes the lives of rugged western pioneers. These depictions, while partially valid, overlook the many meaningful complements and continuities in their lives and works. This book, the first comparative study of Wharton and Cather in thirty years, combines biographical, historical, and literary analyses with approaches focused on place and aesthetics to reveal the deep affinities between them. Exploring the parallels in their lives, revealing their shared literary principles, and examining their understanding of culture in the places central to them both—New York City, the American West, and France—Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and the Place of Culture offers deeper and more nuanced understandings of their works, their relationship to each other, and their shared concern with the culture of place and the place of culture in the United States.

Olin-Ammentorp is a professor of English and the director of Gender and Women's Studies at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. She also serves on the National Willa Cather Center's Board of Governors.