Best novel Gayheart I do believe that Cather s second rate reputation can be attributed to #All The Praise Showered On #the praise showered on Antonia people read it shrug their shoulders and move on Lee also underrates One of Ours and she begins her discussion of it unfairly by uoting all the negative contemporary reviews and tacitly endorsing them Nowhere does she mention that the magnificent first two thirds of the novel take place before Claude ever sees a battlefield carefully and delicately building a character to whom for all sorts of personal reasons that have nothing to do with world history war seems like the perfect solution Claude is idealistic about the war and Cather manages to make his idealism sympathetic and entirely in character without endorsing it Lee makes it sound like a work of simple minded jingoistic patriotismThe book is written in a pleasant straight forward style and Cather fans will learn plenty but not enough about the author s life Someday I would like to read a real biography of Willa Cather I look forward to reading Lee s biographies of Woolf and Wharton by then I think Lee had come to think of herself as a biographer no less than a critic and luckily Woolf and Wharton left behind veritable archives of letters journals and drafts unlike Cather who burned everything Not a biography so much as a chronological literary criticism of Cather s works I learned so very little about one of my favorite authors and didn t remember the plots well enough of her works 95% of which I ve read to be anything but bored by the rehash Well that s not entirely true the only time I wasn t bored was when Lee included passages from the books and I could enjoy Cather s writing if only in snippets I understand that Cather was a fiercely private person but if ou can t provide of a life than this maybe she s not for ou to write about A solid if unexciting take on this great American novelist s life and times She wrote about the lost pioneer spirit and is still somewhat underrated outside the US More of a critical biography than a straightforward life story so it helps to have read a sizeable chunk of Cather s work beforehand I ve only read two of her books and it didn t feel like enough but Hermione Lee s reappraisal has 1010 would recommend for any fans of Willa out there. Ing the language and entering the landscapes of Cather’s fiction Lee offers a perceptive account of this famously private woman discovering an unrivaled imagination a complexity wrongly interpreted as conservatism and a writer like no one els. E spirit of feminist criticism activities and styles are regularly described as male and female It s hard to argue with some of these categories sure cooking has usually been done by women But what critical insight is reached by pointing that out Other times especially in discussions of literary styles the dichotomy reifies a difference that may not exist or that may be one difference among many Often the dichotomy simply paints the world in black and white only to point out contrasts that would not have been conspicuous had she we taken for granted that reality is complicated Lee throws around the word pastoral so freely that it hardly seems to mean anything I kept thinking Read Virgil s Eclogues and Paul Alpert s What Is Pastoral and felt pedantic for doing so What are the hallmarks of pastoral Perhaps shepherds are dispensable but the important thing is that sheepherding leaves Tityrus company plenty of time for song contests which makes pastoral the ideal meta literary genre Effort plays no role in the proceedings which makes it very very different from Cather s prairie novels Next for all the descriptions of bowls of foaming cream sheaves of wheat and trees full of fruit the shepherds hope for peace and are threatened by dispossession These offstage dangers are
again very different from what one finds in Cather s novels where the hardships are very much in very different from what one finds in Cather s novels where the hardships are very much in foreground And so onLee does have a short critical discussion in which she distinguishes between soft pastoral and hard pastoral ie georgic not pastoral at all but that doesn t stop her from being careless Too often the word seems to mean something but closer inspection reveals that it means little than that the novels are set in the countryLee rightly emphasizes the melancholy and the vespertinal uality of Cather s novels and these are arguably characteristics of pastoral as #well but the sources of melancholy are not the same and differences seem to outweigh the similarities Finally #but the sources of melancholy are not the same and differences seem to outweigh the similarities Finally s favorite novels are not my favorite novels I know it seems capricious to condemn a book for this reason but it was a bitter disappointment to read in a study that was intended I believe to launch Cather in Britain a grotesue overestimation of to my mind Cather s worst novel My Antonia and a polite condemnation of her. Ve interpretation of a writer whose life and work were marked by fracture and dislocation carefully suppressed or camouflaged desires and a greater interest in the craft of writing than in an old fashioned longing for rural simplicity By analyz. ,
I was expecting a straight biography of Cather so I was disappointed when the book started with long discussions of her writings as well as her connections with feminism and cross dressing But as the book continued I started to really get into it I ve read many of the novels over the earend she is a favorite of mine The books vary in setting though we think abutter always benign the Western plains Yet Lucy Gayheart is in Chicago while Death Comes for the Archbishop is in New Mexico The Book Led Me To led me to to read some books I The book led me to want to read some books I missed over the ears Professor s House and The Song of the Lark for exampleThis is a worthwhile book that anyone with #even a slight interest in Cather should pick up I am devoted #a slight interest in Cather should pick up I am devoted Willa Cather So many things that I m looking for in a novelist are present in her writing history a palpable sense of place family struggles artistic struggles and just dazzlingly poetic writing The Song of the Lark is truly one of my favorite books and I ve read most of the other novels I bought this book looking for details about her life and some reflection about its relationship to her writing I was curious to see how she created her work out of her lifeLike many other rea Learned about Willa Cather and her writing Now I m on to some of her novels always a good sign of a good biography I didn t love this one as much as the Woolf biography Probably partly because I m so much of a Woolf fan but also because Lee hadn t honed her craft as much by this point and because Cather left very little to be recorded of her life Anyway worth a read for Cather fans A very well written book about Cather and her writing but for some reason it just didn t grab me Lots of literary analysis but a bit skimpy on her life However it IS making me eager to read or reread her work Read large sections related to the literature I had read This volume is critical study of her work and comparison to Cather s own life and seeing inspiration for work rather than biography Lee has recent work on Cather which is probably encompassing A responsible but disappointing study I had read all but one of the novels and many of the short stories and wanted a biography Unfortunately despite the title much of this volume is taken up with essays on the works of varying uality My objections In th. Willa Cather widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of this century has also been dismissed in certain circles as a nostalgist a cranky critic of the modern world In Willa Cather A Life Saved Up Hermione Lee offers an alternati.