Youth and the Bright Medusa


Youth and the Bright Medusa

Scholarly Edition

Willa Cather
Historical Essay and Explanatory Notes by Mark J. Madigan
Textual Essay and Editing by Frederick M. Link, Charles W. Mignon, Judith Boss, and Kari A. Ronning

Willa Cather Scholarly Edition Series

646 pages
25 illustrations


June 2009


$90.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

In 1920 Willa Cather collected eight of the stories she had written over the past twenty years into Youth and the Bright Medusa, stories of the perilous pursuit of the bright medusa of art in a hostile, materialistic world. These include some of her best tales: “Coming, Aphrodite!” focuses on a dedicated painter and his affair with a singer in pursuit of celebrity; “Paul’s Case” and “A Wagner Matinée” tell of a young man and an old woman with artistic longings crushed by their environments; “The Sculptor’s Funeral” and “The Diamond Mine” show the high costs of success.

The historical essay and explanatory notes trace the composition of the stories and their roots in the people, events, and places Cather knew, from her family to world-famous sopranos, from Nebraska and Wyoming to New York and Pittsburgh, with new information on the sources for “Paul’s Case.” Historical photographs, including a hitherto unknown portrait of the prototype for Paul, show people and places as Cather knew them. The textual essay and apparatus explore the versions that appeared in her lifetime, from first magazine publication to the final collected edition of her works—and describe how the magazine version of “Coming, Aphrodite!” was censored by the editors, even to the title.

Author Bio

Mark J. Madigan is a professor of English at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. He is the author of many articles on Willa Cather and the editor of three volumes by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.
Frederick M. Link and Charles W. Mignon are both professors emeritus of English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and textual editors of the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition series.
Judith Boss is a professor of English at the University of Nebraska–Omaha and teaches computer applications in English. She has digitized several American literature texts for Project Gutenberg and other digital libraries and repositories.

Kari A. Ronning is a research associate professor of English, assistant editor of the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition series, and codirector of the Willa Cather Journalism project at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.



"[Youth and the Bright Medusa is] an invaluable asset to scholars looking for a well-rounded, complete study of Willa Cather's writing. Nothing is left out, nothing is wanting."—Nancee Reeves, Documentary Editing

Table of Contents


Youth and the Bright Medusa


Historical Apparatus:

Historical Essay


Explanatory Notes

Textual Apparatus:

Textual Essay


Notes on Emendations

Table of Rejected Substantives

Word Division

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