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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Willa Cather and the American Southwest

Willa Cather and the American Southwest


by John Swift and Joseph Urgo
University of Nebraska Press 

"The essays in this engaging volume take on the wide geographical and cultural landscape of the two 1920s novels [The Professor's House and Death Comes for the Archbishop] . . . German anthropology, New Mexican folk art, Anasazi cannibalism, the Smithsonian Museum, and 'sentimental nationality' are just a few of the areas explored by the intrepid contributors."”

The American Southwest was arguably as formative a landscape for Willa Cather's aesthetic vision as was her beloved Nebraska. Both landscapes elicited in her a sense of raw incompleteness. They seemed not so much finished places as things unassembled, more like countries "still waiting to be made into [a] landscape." Cather's fascination with the Southwest led to its presence as a significant setting in three of her most ambitious novels: The Song of the Lark, The Professor's House, and Death Comes for the Archbishop. This volume focuses a sharp eye on how the landscape of the American Southwest served Cather creatively and the ways it shaped her research and productivity. No single scholarly methodology prevails in the essays gathered here, giving the volume rare depth and complexity. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

John N. Swift is a professor of English and comparative literary studies at Occidental College. He is the past president of the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation. Joseph R. Urgo is a professor in and the chair of the Department of English at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of In the Age of Distraction and Willa Cather and the Myth of American Migration.