Preview Cart Checkout
 

Our Final Ántonia Story!

Our Final Ántonia Story!

Monday, December 31, 2018

As we began celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Cather’s My Ántonia in the first 2018 issue of the Willa Cather Review, we asked thirty widely varied readers—fans, scholars, neighbors, students, Cather and Pavelka relatives, and many others—to send us their Ántonia stories, telling us why this beloved novel is important to them. (To download the Winter 2018 issue, click HERE.) As these stories arrived in my mailbox, I was amazed and delighted and moved by them. I was surprised by how different they were, and by how they spoke to each other. It was like sitting in on a lively and heartfelt conversation. I wanted to hear more—and perhaps to chime in with my own story.

Enjoy the last of our stories below, my own, as we count down the final moments of the 100th birthday of My Ántonia. Many thanks to our contributors for sharing their stories with us!

Ann Romines, Issue Editor, Willa Cather Review

The Burdens' Christmas Tree, by Ann Romines

The Burdens' Christmas Tree, by Ann Romines
The Burdens' Christmas Tree, by Ann Romines

This has been a very special year for me, because, as we’ve celebrated the centenary of My Ántonia, I’ve been privileged to hear and read so many of your “Ántonia stories” and have learned more about how and why other readers have valued this treasured book. This last week in December, I’ve spent a lot of time gazing at the tall, shining Christmas tree my sister and I decorated together, for yet another year. READ MORE

A Chance Meeting, by Francesca White

A Chance Meeting, by Francesca White
A Chance Meeting, by Francesca White

I first met Ántonia Shimerda entirely by chance, at the end of my second year as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge. The summer exams had just finished and I was mooching around the cool North Wing of the library looking for something new to read. Specifically, I was looking for something American. READ MORE

Delight in Sharing My Ántonia, by Janie Mitchell

Delight in Sharing My Ántonia, by Janie Mitchell
Delight in Sharing My Ántonia, by Janie Mitchell

My heritage as a native Nebraskan traces a familiar story of immigrants who arrived on the prairie to make new lives. As a little girl I was blessed on Thursday evenings with the whole family gathered around the table for Swedish coffee and dessert. This was the special custom at my grandparents’ home in Lincoln.  READ MORE

Remembering Ántonia, by Tara Lynn Marta

Remembering Ántonia, by Tara Lynn Marta
Remembering Ántonia, by Tara Lynn Marta

I first encountered My Ántonia as a television movie. Fresh out of high school, I’d never heard of Willa Cather, as her books never made the required reading lists. The movie, however, immediately captivated my attention. The narrative of Jim and Ántonia enthralled me, yet I had no idea why. After all, I didn’t relate to the characters. I was not an immigrant and I did not live on a prairie. READ MORE

A New Road, by Katerine Avila-Pastor

A New Road, by Katerine Avila-Pastor
A New Road, by Katerine Avila-Pastor

I came across My Ántonia a year after graduating high school. At the time, I was frustrated with my lack of opportunity. As a young immigrant woman, numerous obstacles stood between me and a higher education—documentation being the greatest. It took me two years of paperwork and multiple jobs to find the financial and legal stability to enter college. I used American literature—specifically Willa Cather—to counterbalance my growing frustration read more 

Ántonia Takes Me Home, by Joshua Doležal

Ántonia Takes Me Home, by Joshua Doležal
Ántonia Takes Me Home, by Joshua Doležal

Around the time I began my sophomore year as an undergraduate, I saw a cartoon that summed up how I felt. It was four portraits of a young man with a simple caption: The Four Years of College. In the first he looked clean-cut, serious, collar buttoned over a tie. In the sophomore portrait he had shoulder-length hair, a long beard, and hoop earrings. He mellowed as a junior, hair cropped to his ears but still falling into his face READ MORE 

My Ántonia Story, by Will Fellows

My Ántonia Story, by Will Fellows
My Ántonia Story, by Will Fellows

A golden memory: that dull midwinter weekend almost forty years ago when, as a twenty- something college student, I was handed a paperback of a strangely titled novel, its author unfamiliar. Urged to give it a try, I was soon transfixed by the story, the characters, the narrative voice, the qualities of the prose, the vanished era it evoked. And, before long, by an unaccountably strong desire to know as much as I could about the READ MORE . . .