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Sensing Willa Cather: The Writer and the Body in Transition

Sensing Willa Cather: The Writer and the Body in Transition

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

A radical reinterpretation of Willa Cather's oeuvre deploying the concepts and techniques of Body Studies, Guy J. Reynolds remaps Cather's vast and diverse range of writing from the 1890s through to 1940. His study of embodiment and narrative focuses on the senses and reads Cather as a writer at the transition from late Victorian to Modernist modes of representation. The book presents suggestive new ways of understanding her depictions of disability, male bodies and Native American culture, not to mention her narratives of whiteness and of the black body.

The book features chapters on:

  1. Willa Cather in the Realm of the Senses
  2. Cather’s Bodily Art and the Emergence of Modernism
  3. ‘Sense-dwarfed’: Cather, Aestheticism and a new corporealism
  4. Pale Shades and Living Colors: Cather’s looks
  5. Sound Affects: Music, Voice, and Silence in The Song of the Lark, My Mortal Enemy, and Lucy Gayheart 
  6. Touch: haptic narrative in The Professor’s House, Shadows on the Rock, and Sapphira and the Slave Girl 
  7. Cather, taste, and national cuisines: The Professor’s House, Death Comes for the Archbishop, and Shadows on the Rock 
  8. Cather’s smellscapes: perfumes and flowers; disgust and seduction
  9. Conclusion: the body of the author 

About the Author

Guy J. Reynolds is Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The former General Editor of both the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition and Cather Studies, he is also the author and editor of several books including Willa Cather in Context: Progress, Race, Empire (St. Martin's, 1996) and Apostles of Modernity: American Writers in the Age of Development (U of Nebraska Press, 2008). 


Published by Edinburgh University Press: June 2021
Modern American Literature and the New Twentieth Century series
Hardbound: 256 pages