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Alexander's Bridge

by Willa Cather

Alexander's Bridge, Willa Cather's first novel, is a taut psychological drama about the fragility of human connections. Published in 1912, just a year before O Pioneers! made Cather's name, it features high society on an international stage rather than the immigrant prairie characters she later became known for. The successful and glamorous life of Bartley Alexander, a world-renowned engineer and bridge builder, begins to unravel when he encounters a former lover in London. As he shuttles among his wife in Boston, his old flame in London, and a massive bridge he is building in Canada, Alexander finds himself increasingly tormented. But the threatened collapse of his marriage presages a more fatal catastrophe, one he will risk his life to try to prevent.

Alexander's Bridge

by Willa Cather

Alexander's Bridge, Willa Cather's first novel, is a taut psychological drama about the fragility of human connections. Published in 1912, just a year before O Pioneers! made Cather's name, it features high society on an international stage rather than the immigrant prairie characters she later became known for. The successful and glamorous life of Bartley Alexander, a world-renowned engineer and bridge builder, begins to unravel when he encounters a former lover in London. As he shuttles among his wife in Boston, his old flame in London, and a massive bridge he is building in Canada, Alexander finds himself increasingly tormented. But the threatened collapse of his marriage presages a more fatal catastrophe, one he will risk his life to try to prevent.

The Bohemian Girl

by Willa Cather

A short story from the Classic Shorts collection: The Bohemian Girl by Willa Cather

Collected Stories

by Willa Cather

In these fictions, Cather displays her vast moral vision, her unerring sense of place, and her ability to find the one detail or episode that makes a closed life open wide in a single exhilarating moment.

Coming, Aphrodite!

by Willa Cather

Don Hedger had lived for four years on the top floor of an old house on the south side of Washington Square, and nobody had ever disturbed him. He occupied one big room with no outside exposure except on the north, where he had built in a many-paned studio window that looked upon a court and upon the roofs and walls of other buildings. His room was very cheerless, since he never got a ray of direct sunlight; the south corners were always in shadow. In one of the corners was a clothes closet, built against the partition, in another a wide divan, serving as a seat by day and a bed by night. In the front corner, the one farther from the window, was a sink, and a table with two gas burners where he sometimes cooked his food. There, too, in the perpetual dusk, was the dog's bed, and often a bone or two for his comfort. The dog was a Boston bull terrier, and Hedger explained his surly disposition by the fact that he had been bred to the point where it told on his nerves. His name was Caesar III, and he had taken prizes at very exclusive dog shows. When he and his master went out to prowl about University Place or to promenade along West Street, Caesar III was invariably fresh and shining. His pink skin showed through his mottled coat, which glistened as if it had just been rubbed with olive oil, and he wore a brass-studded collar, bought at the smartest saddler's. Hedger, as often as not, was hunched up in an old striped blanket coat, with a shapeless felt hat pulled over his bushy hair, wearing black shoes that had become grey, or brown ones that had become black, and he never put on gloves unless the day was biting cold. Early in May, Hedger learned that he was to have a new neighbour in the rear apartment-two rooms, one large and one small, that faced the west. His studio was shut off from the larger of these rooms by double doors, which, though they were fairly tight, left him a good deal at the mercy of the occupant. The rooms had been leased, long before he came there, by a trained nurse who considered herself knowing in old furniture. She went to auction sales and bought up mahogany and dirty brass and stored it away here, where she meant to live when she retired from nursing. Meanwhile, she sub-let her rooms, with their precious furniture, to young people who came to New York to "write" or to "paint"-who proposed to live by the sweat of the brow rather than of the hand, and who desired artistic surroundings. When Hedger first moved in, these rooms were occupied by a young man who tried to write plays,-and who kept on trying until a week ago, when the nurse had put him out for unpaid rent. A few days after the playwright left, Hedger heard an ominous murmur of voices through the bolted double doors: the lady-like intonation of the nurse-doubtless exhibiting her treasures-and another voice, also a woman's, but very different; young, fresh, unguarded, confident. All the same, it would be very annoying to have a woman in there. The only bath-room on the floor was at the top of the stairs in the front hall, and he would always be running into her as he came or went from his bath. He would have to be more careful to see that Caesar didn't leave bones about the hall, too; and she might object when he cooked steak and onions on his gas burner. As soon as the talking ceased and the women left, he forgot them. He was absorbed in a study of paradise fish at the Aquarium, staring out at people through the glass and green water of their tank. It was a highly gratifying idea; the incommunicability of one stratum of animal life with another,-though Hedger pretended it was only an experiment in unusual lighting. When he heard trunks knocking against the sides of the narrow hall, then he realized that she was moving in at once. Toward noon, groans and deep gasps and the creaking of ropes, made him aware that a piano was arriving.

Death Comes for the Archbishop

by Willa Cather

Willa Cather's best known novel; a narrative that recounts a life lived simply in the silence of the southwestern desert.From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Enchanted Bluff

by Willa Cather

A short story from the Classic Shorts collection: The Bohemian Girl by Willa Cather

Eric Hermannson's Soul

by Willa Cather

A short story from the Classic Shorts collection: The Bohemian Girl by Willa Cather

A Lost Lady

by Willa Cather

The Forresters are known for their gatherings, and Mrs. Forrester, to be an enchanting hostess. Neil Herbert, finds himself at the Forester estate playing with friends, and he falls in love with Mrs. Forrester, and what she represents.

A Lost Lady

by Willa Cather

A portrait of a woman who reflects the conventions of her age even as she defies them and whose transformations embody the decline and coarsening of the American frontier.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Lucy Gayheart

by Willa Cather

"Some people's lives are affected by what happens to their person or their property, but for others fate is what happens to their feelings and their thoughts--that and nothing more." In this haunting 1935 novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of My Ántonia and Death Comes for the Archbishop performs a series of crystalline variations on the themes that preoccupy her greatest fiction: the impermanence of innocence, the opposition between prairie and city, provincial American values and world culture, and the grandeur, elation, and heartache that await a gifted young woman who leaves her small Nebraska town to pursue a life in art.At the age of eighteen, Lucy Gayheart heads for Chicago to study music. She is beautiful and impressionable and ardent, and these qualities attract the attention of Clement Sebastian, an aging but charismatic singer who exercises all the tragic, sinister fascination of a man who has renounced life only to turn back to seize it one last time. Out of their doomed love affair--and Lucy's fatal estrangement from her origins--Willa Cather creates a novel that is as achingly lovely as a Schubert sonata.From the Trade Paperback edition.

My Antonia

by Willa Cather

My Ántonia is one of eight classic American novels featured in the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read initiative, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities and is supported by expansive outreach and publicity campaigns. Over one hundred communities will participate in 2007, each with a program lasting approximately one month. A kick-off event is followed by panel discussions, film screenings, and lectures or public readings devoted to the book.Willa Cather's heartfelt novel is the unforgettable story of an immigrant woman's life on the hardscrabble Nebraska plains. Through Jim Burden's affectionate reminiscence of his childhood friend, the free-spirited Ántonia Shimerda, a larger, uniquely American portrait emerges, both of a community struggling with unforgiving terrain and of a woman who, amid great hardship, stands as a timeless inspiration.

My Antonia

by Willa Cather

My Antonia

by Willa Cather Joseph Murphy, Ph.D., D.D. W. T. Benda

Willa Cather's My Ántonia is considered one of the most significant American novels of the twentieth century. Set during the great migration west to settle the plains of the North American continent, the narrative follows Antonia Shimerda, a pioneer who comes to Nebraska as a child and grows with the country, inspiring a childhood friend, Jim Burden, to write her life story. The novel is important both for its literary aesthetic and as a portrayal of important aspects of American social ideals and history, particularly the centrality of migration to American culture.

My Antonia

by Willa Cather Marilyn Sides Terese Svoboda

Emigrating from Bohemia to Black Hawk, Nebraska, with her family, Ántonia discovers no white-framed farmhouse or snug barn. Instead, the cultured Shimerda family finds itself huddled in a primitive sod house buffeted by the ceaselessly blowing winds on the Midwest prairie. For her childhood friend Jim Burden, Ántonia comes to embody the elemental spirit of this frontier. Working alongside men, she survives without compromising the rich, deep power of her nature. And Willa Cather's lush descriptions of the rolling Nebraska grasslands interweave with the blossoming of a woman in the early days of the twentieth century in a novel that is an epic chronicle of America's past. My Ántonia is one of those rare, highly prized works of great literature that not only enriches its readers but immerses them in a tale superbly told. The novel Cather herself considered her best, My Ántonia is one of those rare, highly prized works of great literature that not only enriches its readers but immerses them in a tale superbly told. With an Introduction by Marilyn Sides and a New Afterword by Terese Svoboda

My Antonia

by Willa Cather Stephanie Vaughn

My Ántonia is one of eight classic American novels featured in the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read initiative, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities and is supported by expansive outreach and publicity campaigns. Over one hundred communities will participate in 2007, each with a program lasting approximately one month. A kick-off event is followed by panel discussions, film screenings, and lectures or public readings devoted to the book.Willa Cather's heartfelt novel is the unforgettable story of an immigrant woman's life on the hardscrabble Nebraska plains. Through Jim Burden's affectionate reminiscence of his childhood friend, the free-spirited Ántonia Shimerda, a larger, uniquely American portrait emerges, both of a community struggling with unforgiving terrain and of a woman who, amid great hardship, stands as a timeless inspiration.

My Mortal Enemy

by Willa Cather

First published in 1926, this book is Cather's sparest and most dramatic novel, a dark and oddly prescient portrait of a marriage that subverts our oldest notions about the nature of happiness and the sanctity of the hearth.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Not Under Forty

by Willa Cather

For Willa Cather, "the world broke in two in 1922 or thereabouts. " The whole legacy of Western civilization stood on the far side of World War I, and in the spiritually impoverished present she looked back to that. To that she directed readers of these essays, declaring that anyone under forty years old would not be interested in them. But she was wrong: since its first publication in 1936, "Not Under Forty" has appealed to readers of all ages who share Cather's concern for excellence, for what endures, in literature and in life.

O Pioneers!

by Willa Cather

Willa Cather's powerful story about a family of farmers--an instant American classic The first novel in Willa Cather's Great Plains trilogy tells the story of the Bergsons, a family of immigrants eking out a hardscrabble life as farmers in Nebraska at the turn of the nineteenth century. Alexandra, the eldest child of Bergson patriarch John, inherits the family farm when her father dies. Left to raise her father's three sons and somehow turn a struggling farm around, Alexandra is tasked with pulling her family up by its bootstraps. Unfortunately, her brothers aren't made of the same strong pioneer stock as she is. When drought, depression, and other agricultural disasters hit, it's up to Alexandra to pull the family through. Along the way, the neighbor boy, Carl Linstrum, catches her eye. But when families begin lighting out for greener pastures in the West, the Bergsons' fortunes take a turn. Can the family survive the brutal Midwest hardships, or worse--the Bergson brothers' frivolous nature? Will Alexandra, emotional lodestone and embodiment of the American can-do spirit, ever find happiness--or love? Cather's novel shows readers the story of the American frontier. This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.

O Pioneers!

by Willa Cather

Book Description A timeless tale of a strong pioneer woman facing great challenges.

O Pioneers!

by Willa Cather Marcelle Clements

One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover, anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away. A mist of fine snowflakes was curling and eddying about the cluster of low drab buildings huddled on the gray prairie, under a gray sky. The dwelling-houses were set about haphazard on the tough prairie sod; some of them looked as if they had been moved in overnight, and others as if they were straying off by themselves, headed straight for the open plain. None of them had any appearance of permanence, and the howling wind blew under them as well as over them. The main street was a deeply rutted road, now frozen hard, which ran from the squat red railway station and the grain "elevator" at the north end of the town to the lumber yard and the horse pond at the south end. On either side of this road straggled two uneven rows of wooden buildings; the general merchandise stores, the two banks, the drug store, the feed store, the saloon, the post-office. The board sidewalks were gray with trampled snow, but at two o'clock in the afternoon the shopkeepers, having come back from dinner, were keeping well behind their frosty windows. The children were all in school, and there was nobody abroad in the streets but a few rough-looking countrymen in coarse overcoats, with their long caps pulled down to their noses. Some of them had brought their wives to town, and now and then a red or a plaid shawl flashed out of one store into the shelter of another. At the hitch-bars along the street a few heavy work-horses, harnessed to farm wagons, shivered under their blankets. About the station everything was quiet, for there would not be another train in until night [. . . ]

O Pioneers!

by Willa Cather Blanche H. Gelfant

The first of Cather's renowned prairie novels, O Pioneers! established a new voice in American literature--turning the stories of ordinary Midwesterners and immigrants into authentic literary characters.

O Pioneers!

by Willa Cather Vivian Gornick

One of America's greatest women writers, Willa Cather established her talent and her reputation with this extraordinary novel--the first of her books set on the Nebraska frontier. A tale of the prairie land encountered by America's Swedish, Czech, Bohemian, and French immigrants, as well as a story of how the land challenged them, changed them, and, in some cases, defeated them, Cather's novel is a uniquely American epic. Alexandra Bergson, a young Swedish immigrant girl who inherits her father's farm and must transform it from raw prairie into a prosperous enterprise, is the first of Cather's great heroines--all of them women of strong will and an even stronger desire to overcome adversity and succeed. But the wild land itself is an equally important character in Cather's books, and her descriptions of it are so evocative, lush, and moving that they provoked writer Rebecca West to say of her: "The most sensuous of writers, Willa Cather builds her imagined world almost as solidly as our five senses build the universe around us."Willa Cather, perhaps more than any other American writer, was able to re-create the real drama of the pioneers, capturing for later generations a time, a place, and a spirit that has become part of our national heritage.From the Paperback edition.

O Pioneers!

by Willa Cather Doris Grumbach

O Pioneers!, Willa Cather's first great novel, is the classic American story of pioneer life as embodied by one remarkable woman and her singular devotion to the land. Alexandra Bergson arrives on the wind-blasted prairie of Nebraska as a young girl and grows up to turn it into a prosperous farm. In this unforgettable story,Cather conveys both the physical realities of the landscape, as well as the mythic sweep of the transformation of the frontier, more faithfully and perhaps more fully than any other work of fiction.

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