The Professor's House
The Professor’s House (1925) follows Godfrey St. Peter as he experiences a change in his domestic life, his family moving to a new home. While the rest of his family is excited about the move, St. Peter can’t seem to detach himself from the old house. It contains his study where he does all of his writing for his historical books, but it also is the place where his favorite student, Tom Outland, became acquainted with the St. Peters. As St. Peter’s family becomes increasingly materialistic, he grows increasingly detached, questioning what truly matters. A split occurs between his life in his old study and the life that he is expected to lead with his family. St. Peter must determine who he wants to be in his old age.
This novel, written over the course of a few years, is an excellent example of Cather’s ability to use complex structures and a simplistic but powerful narrative. Cather is selective in her descriptions and the characters are nuanced, allowing space for the reader to fill in the gaps. The Professor's House is a true show of Willa Cather's skill as an accomplished writer.