O Pioneers!

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Thorndike Press, Apr 1, 2002 - Fiction - 296 pages
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Willa Cather's masterful novel marks both her return to the Nebraska of her youth and the discovery of an original literary voice. O Pioneers! vividly recalls the stories of the immigrant settlers Cather knew during her childhood and teenage years in Red Cloud. This Norton Critical Edition brings to life-through Cather's words, and through the words and images of others-the uniquely American frontier experience. "Contexts and Backgrounds" includes a rich selection of autobiographical and biographical material, including three interviews with Cather (1913, 1915, 1921). Literary contexts are provided by Cather and by Henry James, Edith Wharton, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Walt Whitman. The American West is revealed in words, photographs, and illustrations, including a selection from the Oblinger family letters (part of the Library of Congress American Memory project), Frederick Jackson Turner on the historical importance of the American frontier, and original documents from the Nebraska Historical Society. Mike Fischer explores Cather's relationship to Native American history and experience, questioning what role, if any, imperialism played in her creative process. "Criticism" provides seven contemporary reviews of O Pioneers! and modern critical interpretations by David Stouck, John J. Murphy, C. Susan Wiesenthal, Marilee Lindemann, Melissa Ryan, Guy Reynolds, and Sharon O'Brien. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included. Book jacket.

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About the author (2002)

Willa Siebert Cather was born in 1873 in the home of her maternal grandmother in western Virginia. Although she had been named Willela, her family always called her "Willa." Upon graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1895, Cather moved to Pittsburgh where she worked as a journalist and teacher while beginning her writing career. In 1906, Cather moved to New York to become a leading magazine editor at McClure's Magazine before turning to writing full-time. She continued her education, receiving her doctorate of letters from the University of Nebraska in 1917, and honorary degrees from the University of Michigan, the University of California, Columbia, Yale, and Princeton. Cather wrote poetry, short stories, essays, and novels, winning awards including the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, One of Ours, about a Nebraska farm boy during World War I. She also wrote The Professor's House, My Antonia, Death Comes for the Archbishop, and Lucy Gayheart. Some of Cather's novels were made into movies, the most well-known being A Lost Lady, starring Barbara Stanwyck. In 1961, Willa Cather was the first woman ever voted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame. She was also inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners in Oklahoma in 1974, and the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca, New York in 1988. Cather died on April 24, 1947, of a cerebral hemorrhage, in her Madison Avenue, New York home, where she had lived for many years.

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