Willa Cather

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

The Human Condition in Cather’s My Antonia

Dr. Johnson remarked that a noble purpose of great literature “is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.” Willa Cather’s My Antonia, a novel about immigrants travelling to the Midwest to farm the land as pioneers, provides great wisdom on the art of enduring life better. Portraying the universality [...]

Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop

“Wherever there was a French priest, there should be a garden of fruit trees and vegetables and flowers”—the telltale signs of civilized life. In Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop two French Jesuit missionaries arrive in the American Southwest to revive the Catholic faith and evangelize the Mexicans and Indians, Catholics who were once [...]

All Happy Trails Lead West (II)

 Presently we saw a curious thing: There were no clouds, the sun was going down in a limpid, gold-washed sky.  Just as the lower edge of the red disk rested on the high fields against the horizon, a great black figure suddenly appeared on the face of the sun.  We sprang to our feet, straining [...]

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