Cather Studies, Volume 14


Cather Studies, Volume 14

Unsettling Cather

Edited by Marilee Lindemann and Ann Romines

Cather Studies Series

350 pages
15 photographs, 3 illustrations, index


February 2025


$40.00 Pre-order

About the Book

American author Willa Cather was born and spent her first nine years in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Here, as an observant daughter of a privileged white family, Cather first encountered differences and dislocations that remained lively, productive, and sometimes deeply troubling sites of tension and energy throughout her writing life.

The essays in Cather Studies, Volume 14 seek to unsettle prevailing assumptions about Cather’s work as she moved from Virginia to Nebraska to Pittsburgh to New York City to New Mexico and farther west, and to Grand Manan Island. The essays range from examinations of how race shapes and misshapes Cather’s final novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl, to challenges to criticisms of her 1935 novel, Lucy Gayheart. Contributors also frame fresh discussions of Cather’s literary influences and cultural engagements in the first decade of her career as a novelist through the lens of sex and gender and examine Cather’s engagements with region as a geopolitical, sociolinguistic, and literary site. Together, the essays offer compelling ways of seeing and situating Cather’s texts—both unsettling and advancing Cather scholarship.

Author Bio

Marilee Lindemann is an associate professor of English and executive director of College Park Scholars at the University of Maryland. She is the author of Willa Cather: Queering America and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Willa Cather, Alexander’s Bridge, and O Pioneers!Ann Romines is professor emerita of English at the George Washington University. She is the author of The Home Plot: Women, Writing, and Domestic Ritual and many essays on Cather. Romines is also the editor of Willa Cather’s Southern Connections: New Essays on Cather and the South and At Willa Cather’s Tables and the historical editor of the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition of Sapphira and the Slave Girl.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Unsettling Cather
by Ann Romines and Marilee Lindemann
1. Keepsakes and Treasures: Investigating Material Culture in Sapphira and the Slave Girl
Sarah Clere
2. Willa Cather’s “Black Liberation Theology” in Sapphira and the Slave Girl
Barry Hudek
3. Willa Cather’s State of the Union:  Sapphira and the Slave Girl
Tracyann F. Williams
4. Back to Virginia: “Weevily Wheat,” My Ántonia, and Sapphira and the Slave Girl
Steven B. Shively
5. “Keen Senses Do Not Make a Poet”:  Cather’s Respectful Rebellion Against Whitman in O Pioneers!
Hannah J.D. Wells
6. Americans’ Coming of Age:  Willa Cather’s Female National Hero in The Song of the Lark
Molly Metherd
7. “As Dangerous as High Explosives,” or, The Sexual Lives of Hired Girls: Sex Radicalism in My Ántonia
Geneva M. Gano
8. Mapping and (Re)mapping the Nebraska Landscape in the Works of Willa Cather and Francis La Flesche
Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz
9. Willa Cather and Mari Sandoz:  The Muse and the Story Catcher in the Capital City
Sallie Ketcham
10. “Blue Sky, Blue Eyes”: Unsettling Multilingualism in My Ántonia
Andrew Wu
11. Regionalism Démeublé: Reflective Nostalgia in Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop
Jace Gatzemeyer
12. The Neuroscience of Epiphany in Lucy Gayheart
Joshua Doležal
13. Unsettling Accompaniment: Disability as Critique of Aesthetic Power in Willa Cather’s
Lucy Gayheart
Elizabeth Wells          
Notes on Contributors

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