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Scholars Attend Symposium in Rome

Scholars Attend Symposium in Rome

Photo courtesy of Evelyn Funda
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Over forty Cather scholars and enthusiasts traveled to Rome, Italy, June 12-14, for a Cather Symposium themed "Cather in Europe/Europe and Cather." Scholars representing ten states and nine foreign countries, including Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Ireland, Canada, Taiwan, France, and Germany, presented papers at the event. Organized by the Willa Cather Foundation and Symposium Directors Cristina Giorcelli (University of Rome Three), Andrew Jewell (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Mark Madigan (Nazareth College), and John J. Murphy (Emeritus, Brigham Young University), the event consisted of more than two full days of scholarly presentations, excellent food, as well as learning and fellowship.

A frequent traveler to Europe, Cather first visited Rome in 1908. In a 1908 letter to her brother, Roscoe, she said, "I got my guide book for Rome the other day. Seems queer to be really on the way to Rome; for of course Rome has always existed for one, it was a central fact in one's life in Red Cloud and was always the Capital of one's imagination. Rome, London, and Paris were serious matters when I went to the South ward school—they were the three principal cities in Nebraska, so to speak."

The symposium at Centro Studi Americani explored Willa Cather's presence in Europe, both as a traveler and writer whose works have been published in Europe and translated into many European languages. Additionally, scholars examined the influence of Europe and European culture on Cather's works, the representations of Europe in her fiction, and connections between Cather and European artists and writers. The event was made possible with the generous support of John and Sarah Murphy, from the Harriet Shadegg Estate, and with additional support from the Willa Cather Foundation and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.