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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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The Voyage Perilous

The Voyage Perilous


Willa Cather’s Romanticism

About the Book

They Voyage Perilous is the first extended interpretation of Willa Cather's writing within the literary tradition of romanticism. Although she partook of the familiar subjects and themes of the Wordsworthian school of romanticism, Cather was not nearly so concerned with what we see as how we see. Her intensely individual perspective, more creatively romantic than has been previously recognized, gave her work its own kind of elegant form.

Susan J. Rosowski argues that Willa Cather early took up the romantic challenge to vindicate imaginative thought in a world threatened by materialism, then pursued it with remarkable consistency throughout her career. The early essays and stories set out the terms of this life-long commitment. In the early novels Cather celebrates imaginative possibilities; in the middle ones she present increasingly desperate circumstances, asking what is left when the imagination is eclipsed by commercial values; in the late novels she writes in a Gothic mode, the dark counterspirit to optimistic romanticism.

The book is organized chronologically, with a chapter devoted to each novel. The chapters can be read independently or as part of a unified argument providing a larger picture.

Author: Susan J. Rosowski

284 pages (Paperback)