The Song of the Lark

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Houghton Mifflin, 1915 - Chicago (Ill.) - 489 pages
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A novelist and short-story writer, Willa Cather is today widely regarded as one of the foremost American authors of the twentieth century. Particularly renowned for the memorable women she created for such works as My Antonia and O Pioneers!, she pens the portrait of another formidable character in The Song of the Lark. This, her third novel, traces the struggle of the woman as artist in an era when a woman's role was far more rigidly defined than it is today. The prototype for the main character as a child and adolescent was Cather herself, while a leading Wagnerian soprano at the Metropolitan Opera (Olive Fremstad) became the model for Thea Kronborg, the singer who defies the limitations placed on women of her time and social station to become an international opera star. A coming-of-age-novel, important for the issues of gender and class that it explores, The Song of the Lark is one of Cather's most popular and lyrical works. Book jacket.
 

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Contents

I
3
II
161
III
249
IV
295
V
345
VI
385
VII
481
Copyright

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Popular passages

Page 186 - There were ninety and nine that safely lay In the shelter of the fold, But one was out on the hills away, Far off from the gates of gold— Away on the mountains wild and bare, Away from the tender Shepherd's care. "Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine; Are they not enough for Thee?' But the Shepherd made answer: 'This of mine Has wandered away from me; And although the road be rough and steep, I go to the desert to find my sheep.
Page 243 - He either fears his fate too much, Or his deserts are small, Who dares not put it to the touch, To gain or lose it all.
Page 461 - Ghaist nor bogle shalt thou fear; Thou'rt to Love and Heaven sae dear, Nocht of ill may come thee near, My bonnie dearie.
Page 201 - As long as she lived that ecstasy was going to be hers. She would live for it, work for it, die for it; but she was going to have it, time after time, height after height.
Page 270 - Thanks for your advice! But I prefer to steer my boat into the din of the roaring breakers. Even if the journey is my last, I may find what I have never found before. Onward must I go, for I yearn for the wild sea. I long to fight my way through the angry waves, and to see how far, and how long I can make them carry me.
Page 456 - My dear doctor, I don't have any. Your work becomes your personal life. You are not much good until it does. It's like being woven into a big web. You can't pull away, because all your little tendrils are woven into the picture. It takes you up, and uses you, and spins you out; and that is your life. Not much else can happen to you.
Page 480 - This story attempts to deal only with the simple and concrete beginnings which color and accent an artist's work, and to give some account of how a Moonstone girl found her way out of a vague, easy-going world into a life of disciplined endeavor.
Page 297 - Canon was like a thousand others," it begins, — one of those abrupt fissures with which the earth in the Southwest is riddled. ... It was accessible only at its head. The canon walls, for the first two hundred feet below the surface, were perpendicular cliffs, striped with even-running strata of rock. From there on to the bottom the sides were less abrupt, were shelving, and lightly fringed with pifions and dwarf cedars.
Page 477 - Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is.

About the author (1915)

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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