Cather Studies, Volume 7: Willa Cather as Cultural Icon by Cather Studies, Guy J Reynolds

By Cather Studies, Guy J Reynolds

Quantity 7 of the Cather reports sequence explores Willa Cather’s iconic prestige and its difficulties inside well known and literary tradition. not just are Cather’s personal existence and paintings topic to enshrinement, yet as a author, she herself frequently lower back to the motifs of canonization and to the advanced dating among the onlooker and the idealized item. via textual research of her released novels and her behind-the-scenes crusade and exposure writing in provider of her novels, the reader involves comprehend the level to which, regardless of her mythical claims and dedication to privateness, Willa Cather helped to orchestrate her personal iconic prestige.

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In May, Cather continued her campaign by using a routine social occasion, the writing of a thank-you note, as an opportunity to tell Carl Van Doren about the new novel (Calendar no. 594). As she had with Mencken, she here seems to try to construct a response in advance by describing the intensity of her own involvement with the story. Van Doren, too, was someone who might be reviewing it. On 22 June (Calendar no. 603) she wrote to William Allen White, the influential editor of the Emporia, Kansas, Gazette, stating, after an elaborately apologetic introduction, that she was going to have an advance copy of One of Ours sent to him in August and hoped he would review it.

L. Mencken, a powerful arbiter of taste and a critic whose favorable review of My Ántonia had been important, whose favorable attention she naturally wished to retain. Engagingly reviewing her career to date, she asks Mencken to read an advance copy of the new novel. It is because this book is so unlike her others, she claims, that she especially wants to get his opinion—as if she regards this as a strictly private exchange! Adding a note of flattery, she says that she realizes how difficult he is to convince, and if he likes it and regards her character’s feelings as valid she will know she has succeeded in spite of the difficulty of what she has undertaken.

Advertisement for Emerson’s journals. New Republic 12 Dec. 1914: back cover. ———. Advertisement for My Ántonia. New York Times Book Review 29 Sept. 1918: 414. ———. Advertisement for My Ántonia and other titles. Publishers Weekly 28 Sept. 1918: 886. ———. Advertisement for The Song of the Lark. New York Times Book Review 3 Oct. 1915: 360. ———. Advertisement for The Song of the Lark and other titles. New York Times Book Review 10 Oct. 1915: 362, 385. ———. Advertisement for The Song of the Lark and other titles.

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