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Willa Cather

WILLA CATHER was probably born in Virginia in 1873, although her parents did not register the date, and it is probably incorrectly given on her tombstone. Because she is so famous for her Nebraska novels, many people assume she was born there, but Willa Cather was about nine years old when her family moved to a small Nebraska frontier town called Red Cloud that was populated by immigrant Swedes, Bohemians, Germans, Poles, Czechs, and Russians. The oldest of seven children, she was educated at home, studied Latin with a neighbor, and read the English classics in the evening. By the time she went to the University of Nebraska in 1891–where she began by wearing boy’s clothes and cut her hair close to her head–she had decided to be a writer. After graduation she worked for a Lincoln, Nebraska, newspaper, then moved to Pittsburgh and finally to New York City. There she joined McClure’s magazine, a popular muckraking periodical that encouraged the writing of new young authors. After meeting the author Sarah Orne Jewett, she decided to quit journalism and devote herself full time to fiction. Her first novel, Alexander’s Bridge, appeared in serial form in McClure’ s in 1912. But her place in American literature was established with her first Nebraska novel, O Pioneers!, published in 1913, which was followed by her most famous pioneer novel, My Antonia, in 1918. In 1922 she won the Pulitzer Prize for one of her lesser-known books, One of Ours. Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927), her masterpiece, and Shadows on the Rock (1931) also celebrated the pioneer spirit, but in the Southwest and French Canada. Her other novels include The Song of the Lark (1915), The Professor’ s House (1925), My Mortal Enemy (1926), and Lucy Gayheart (1935). She died in 1947.



Format: Trade Paperback, 752 pages

Publisher: Vintage

On Sale: 08/26/2014

Price: $18.95

ISBN: 978-0-804-17227-1

Time Magazine 10 Top Nonfiction Books of 2013

Willa Cather’s letters—withheld from publication for more than six decades—are finally available to the public in this fascinating selection. The hundreds collected here range from witty reports of life as a teenager in Red Cloud in the 1880s through her college years at the University of Nebraska, her time as a journalist in Pittsburgh and New York, and her growing eminence as a novelist. They describe her many travels and record her last years,...

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Introduction by MARILYN SIDES

Format: Paperback, 288 pages

Publisher: Signet

On Sale: 03/04/2014

Price: $5.95

ISBN: 978-0-451-46626-6

Beloved American novelist Willa Cather’s nostalgic classic about life on the Midwest prairie.

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...

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Format: Hardcover, 240 pages

Publisher: Everyman's Library

On Sale: 03/26/2013

Price: $13.50

ISBN: 978-0-307-96146-4

Before Willa Cather went on to write the novels that would make her famous, she was known as a poet, the most popular of her poems reprinted many times in national magazines and anthologies. Her first book of poetry, April Twilights, was published in 1903, but Cather significantly revised and expanded it in a 1923 edition entitled April Twilights and Other Poems. This Everyman’s Library edition reproduces for the first time all the poems from both versions of April Twilights, along with a...

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Illustrated by JESSICA HISCHE

Format: Hardcover, 304 pages

Publisher: Penguin Books

On Sale: 12/12/2012

Price: $25.00

ISBN: 978-0-143-12315-6

From A to Z, the Penguin Drop Caps series collects 26 unique hardcovers—featuring cover art by type superstar Jessica Hische

It all begins with a letter. Fall in love with Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible and gift-worthy hardcover editions, each with a type cover showcasing a gorgeously illustrated letter of the alphabet by superstar type designer Jessica Hische, whose work has appeared everywhere from Tiffany & Co. to Wes Anderson's film Moonrise Kingdom to...

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Format: Paperback, 256 pages

Publisher: Signet

On Sale: 05/01/2012

Price: $4.95

ISBN: 978-0-451-53212-1

"A direct, human tale of love and struggle and attainment—American in the best sense of the word."—The New York Times

On the windy Nebraska prairie, Alexandra Bergson tends to the failing farm that she inherited from her father. She struggles to raise her brothers on her own. And she is torn by the emergence of an unexpected passion…

A magnificent story, O Pioneers!—Willa Cather’s second novel—has become one of the great classics of American literature, telling a timeless tale of a strong...

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Introduction by ELAINE SHOWALTER

Format: Hardcover, 216 pages

Publisher: Everyman's Library

On Sale: 09/06/2011

Price: $24.95

ISBN: 978-0-307-70091-9

The novel that first made Willa Cather famous—a powerfully mythic tale of the American frontier told through the life of one extraordinary woman—in a handsome hardcover volume.

No other work of fiction so vividly evokes the harsh beauty and epic sweep of the Nebraska prairies that Cather knew and loved. The heroine of O Pioneers!, Alexandra Bergson, is a young Swedish immigrant at the turn of the twentieth century who inherits her father’s windblasted land and, through years of hard work,...

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Format: Trade Paperback, 304 pages

Publisher: Vintage

On Sale: 12/07/2010

Price: $15.00

ISBN: 978-0-307-73965-0

In her final novel, Willa Cather departed from her usual Great Plains settings to plumb the turbulent relationships between slaves and their owners in the antebellum South.

Sapphira and the Slave Girl
is set in Virginia just before the Civil War. Sapphira is a slave owner who feels she has come down in the world and channels her resentments into jealousy of her beautiful mulatto slave, Nancy. Sapphira’s daughter Rachel, an abolitionist, opposes her mother’s increasingly shocking attempts to...

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Format: Trade Paperback, 144 pages

Publisher: Vintage

On Sale: 12/07/2010

Price: $12.00

ISBN: 978-0-307-73966-7

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...

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Format: Paperback, 480 pages

Publisher: Signet

On Sale: 11/06/2007

Price: $8.95

ISBN: 978-0-451-53048-6

100th Anniversary Edition

“Miss Cather, indeed, here steps definitely into the small class of American novelists who are seriously to be reckoned with.”—H. L. Mencken
“To reread Cather is to rediscover an arresting chapter in the national past.”—Los Angeles Times

Feisty Thea Kronborg, with her rapturous singing voice, is headed for great things. But her upbringing in a raw, provincial Colorado town has practically stifled her artistic ambitions. Only a few people in Moonstone recognize Thea’s...

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Format: Trade Paperback, 208 pages

Publisher: Vintage

On Sale: 10/12/2004

Price: $9.95

ISBN: 978-1-400-07746-5

Representing a wide spectrum of some of our most significant modern and contemporary authors, the Vintage Readers offer an attractive, accessible sampling of writing that matters.

“The time will come when she will be ranked above Hemingway.” —Leon Edel

A classic American writer in every sense, Willa Cather enjoyed both critical and commercial success in her long career, receiving the Pulitzer Prize for the novel One of Ours. Her beloved and enduring novels and stories have long been part of...

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Format: Trade Paperback, 448 pages

Publisher: Vintage

On Sale: 07/27/1999

Price: $13.95

ISBN: 978-0-375-70645-5

"The time will come when she will be ranked above Hemingway."
--Leon Edel

In this portrait of the self-making of an artist, Willa Cather created one of her most extraordinary heroines. Thea Kronborg, a minister's daughter in a provincial Colorado town, whose path to the world stage leads her ever farther from a home she can't forget and from the man she can't afford to love.  Slowly, Thea learns that her musical talent and fierce ambition are not enough.  

In the solitude of a tiny rock chamber...

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Format: Trade Paperback, 480 pages

Publisher: Penguin Classics

On Sale: 05/01/1999

Price: $15.00

ISBN: 978-0-141-18104-2

Beautiful and lyrical, this third novel by Willa Cather follows the life of Thea Kronberg from her childhood in 19th-century Nebraska to her career as a renowned opera singer.

Since the time of its publication in 1915, this novel had captivated readers with its sharp observations, shimmering descriptions, sly humor, and its provocative heroine—a feisty young woman who strives to create her own destiny, regardless of social restrictions.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading...

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