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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Willa Cather in Europe: Her Own Story of the First Journey

Willa Cather in Europe: Her Own Story of the First Journey


University of Nebraska Press
Introduction and notes by George N. Kates

Cover Image:  Vincent van Gogh's "Cafeterras bij avond, Place du Forum." Courtesy of State Museum, Kroller-Muller, Otterlo, The Neiherlands

Willa Cather was twenty-eight years old in the summer of 1902 when she saw England and France for the first time. Behind her stretched the Nebraska fields of her childhood and still ahead of her the world as it belongs only to great writers. The 1902 journey, coming ten years before she made her literary mark with O Pioneers!, was unrepeatable, special in its effects on her artistic development. After disembarking at Liverpool, she toured the Shropshire country, got swallowed up by London, and then crossed the Channel to other skies-to Rouen, Paris, and the Rivera. These fourteen travel articles, written for a newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska, and eventually collected and published in book form in 1956, are striking for first impressions colored by a future novelist's feeling for history and for beauty in unexpected forms.