My 聲tonia

Front Cover
U of Nebraska Press, Jun 1, 2013 - Fiction - 360 pages

Hailed by reviewers and readers for its originality, vitality, and truth, this novel secured Willa Cather a place in the first rank of American writers. Cather called My 聲tonia “the best thing I’ve done.” For Oliver Wendell Holmes, My 聲tonia had “unfailing charm, perhaps not to be defined; a beautiful tenderness, a vivifying imagination that transforms but does not distort or exaggerate.” H. L. Mencken declared it “one of the best [novels] any American has ever done.”

Cather drew deeply on her childhood days in frontier Nebraska for this, her fourth novel, published in 1918. Old immigrant neighbors inspired many of the characters, particularly the heroine. 聲tonia Shimerda is memorable as the warmhearted daughter of Bohemians who must adapt to a hard life on the desolate prairie. She survives and matures, a pioneer woman made radiant by spirit.

W. T. Benda’s illustrationsfurther illuminate the fiction of a writer who drew so extensively on actual experience.


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - StephMWard - LibraryThing

Wonderful book. Heartfelt and heart breaking, this book was hard to put down...I kept finding myself starting a new chapter when I should have been doing other things. Aside from the illustrative ... Read full review


User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Cather's classic gets the red carpet treatment here. Along with the full text, the volume also includes historical essays and explanatary notes by scholar James Woodress along with 15 photographs and two maps. Read full review

Selected pages

Other editions - View all

About the author (2013)

Willa Cather (1873–1947) was born in Virginia; her family moved to Nebraska in 1883 and eventually settled in Red Cloud. After graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 1895, she returned to Red Cloud briefly before moving east to work on Home Monthly and, later, McClure’s. Her first published books were the poetry collection April Twilights and the short-story collection The Troll Garden. My 聲tonia is part of Cather’s Prairie Trilogy, which includes O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark, all available in Bison Books editions. In 1923 Cather received the Pulitzer Prize for her novel One of Ours.

W. T. Benda (1873–1948) was an illustrator and painter whose work appeared in numerous formats, including books, magazines, and advertisements.

Bibliographic information