(1) Willa Cather Subjects
O Pioneers! -- Willa Cather’s Second “First Novel”
Andy Jewell, editor of the Willa Cather Archive (cather.unl.edu) and co-editor of the new Selected Letters of Willa Cather, will discuss the story behind the writing and publishing of O Pioneers!, the 2013 “One Book, One Nebraska” selection that is also celebrating its 100th anniversary. The book, which Cather called her second “first novel,” emerged at a critical period in Cather’s life. In 1912, she had just left her job at McClure’s Magazine and ventured to Arizona to visit her brother. Her experiences there–and the confidence she regained–made her feel that her “mind had been freshly washed and ironed, and were ready for a new life.” With O Pioneers! she attempted a new kind of writing, something far afield from the Boston and London environs of her first novel, Alexander’s Bridge. With this new style, as she told her friend, she “hit the home pasture.” Jewell’s talk will draw heavily on Cather’s biography and, especially, her letters of the period to provide a behind-the-scenes look into the creation of O Pioneers!
Willa Cather in the Digital Age
Using the Willa Cather Archive (http://cather.unl.edu) as an example, this presentation looks at how the digital medium is enabling new ways to explore and learn about the humanities. In addition to unprecedented access to materials, the online environment offers fresh ways of visualizing, publishing, and generally communicating and learning about the humanities.
Willa Cather’s My Ántonia: The Story Behind Its Writing and Publication
Drawing on biography, history, photographs, interviews, and archival materials, this presentation tells the story of the creation of Willa Cather’s great novel “My Antonia”, a book with a long foreground in the author’s life, and, as recently-discovered letters illustrate, one that marked daring new ambitions and achievements in her career.
Willa Cather’s Life in Letters
Drawing on Jewell’s experience co-editing the first book of Cather’s letters, this talk explores the way Cather used letters to communicate her ideas, maintain her relationships, and think through her life and experiences. Cather’s letters are being published for the first time in 2013, and this program features readings from the lively, but largely unread correspondence of the great American author.
Willa Cather and Quilts
Willa Cather’s earliest memory of art was sitting under quilting frames as a child. This early experience of art as craft — listening to stories and looking at thoughtfully arranged materials of everyday life — remained with Cather. Throughout her life Cather chose to work in places that recalled the small space under the quilting frame, including the attic room in her Red Cloud home, the attic sewing room Isabelle McClung prepared for her in Pittsburgh and the tent where she wrote in Grand Manaan. Slides illustrate quilts Cather names in her fiction as well as related Cather sites and materials.