A Lost Lady

( 7 )

Overview

Marian Forrester is the symbolic flower of the Old American West. She draws her strength from that solid foundation, bringing delight and beauty to her elderly husband, to the small town of Sweet Water where they live, to the prairie land itself, and to the young narrator of her story, Neil Herbert. All are bewitched by her brilliance and grace, and all are ultimately betrayed. For Marian longs for "life on any terms", and in fulfilling herself, she loses all she loved and all who loved her. This, Willa Cather's ...
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A Lost Lady

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Overview

Marian Forrester is the symbolic flower of the Old American West. She draws her strength from that solid foundation, bringing delight and beauty to her elderly husband, to the small town of Sweet Water where they live, to the prairie land itself, and to the young narrator of her story, Neil Herbert. All are bewitched by her brilliance and grace, and all are ultimately betrayed. For Marian longs for "life on any terms", and in fulfilling herself, she loses all she loved and all who loved her. This, Willa Cather's most perfect novel, is not only a portrait of a troubling beauty, but also a haunting evocation of a noble age slipping irrevocably into the past.

A portrait of a lady who reflects the conventions of her age even as she defies them and whose transformations embody the decline of the American frontier.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
"This 1923 novel is among the best examples of Cather’s experiment with minimalism and one of her finest works overall. As such, it deserves an edition produced to the highest standards of textual scholarship. It has found one here."—Choice
From the Publisher

"This classic has the striking economy of Hemingway, and is as poignant an elegy for the pioneer West as I have read."  —The Times

"A poised and perfectly shaped novel."  —Daily Mail

"Her finest novel...Unforgettable...This wonderful performance displays Cather's narrative technique at its sharpest, as well as her understanding of the eloquence of the slightest gesture, the simplest statement...A masterpiece."  —Irish Times

"She is undoubtedly one of the greatest American writers."  —The Observer

Choice

"This 1923 novel is among the best examples of Cather’s experiment with minimalism and one of her finest works overall. As such, it deserves an edition produced to the highest standards of textual scholarship. It has found one here."—Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679728870
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1990
  • Series: Vintage Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 228,985
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Willa Cather

Susan J. Rosowski (1942-2004).
 
Kari A. Ronning is assistant editor of the Cather Scholarly Edition.
 
Charles W. Mignon and Frederick M. Link are professors emeritus of English at the University of Nebraska.
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    1. Also Known As:
      Wilella Sibert Cather (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 7, 1873
    2. Place of Birth:
      Winchester, Virginia
    1. Date of Death:
      April 27, 1947
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    LOST TO POSTERITY...

    This is a simply written but thematically complex, metaphoric story, replete with subtle nuances. The events that transpire are seen primarily through the eyes of a boy who comes of age, a contrivance that the author successfully employed in her best selling classic, "My Antonia". Here, it is no less successful. Through the eyes of Neil Herbert, who lives in Sweet Water, a prospective railroad hub on the Western plains in one of the prairie states, the reader gets to know Marian Forrester. She is the much younger, envied wife of one of the town's more prominent and wealthier citizens, Captain Daniel Forrester, a former railroad contractor.

    As Neil grows into a man, his adoration of the lovely Mrs. Forrester undergoes a change. He sees her fall from the pedestal from where he and all the townspeople have placed her and sees her, really sees her, warts and all, for the first time, when he discovers her involved in an unexpected peccadillo. It comes as a shock to him that she may not be all that she seems to be. Still, his life is closely entwined with hers, as his uncle, with whom he lives, is Captain Forrester's personal attorney and of the same social standing in this socially circumscribed backwater.

    Just as Neil's perception of Mrs. Forrester begins to change in his eyes, so do the fortunes of the town and that of Captain Forrester. As Mrs. Forrester physically deteriorates under the strain of the vicissitudes of fate, so do the town and its surrounding environs. As she revives, leaving behind her old values and adopting new ones that are anathema to those who respect the traditional ones, her revival parallels changes in the town itself, as the old makes way for the new. These changes also parallel the shifts occurring on the American frontier, as social mores and personal values undergo a change, and those stalwart pioneer values give way to new ones.

    Beautifully descriptive of a bygone era and laconic in its pace, this is most certainly a novel to be savored. Fans of the author will especially enjoy it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    A Great Novel

    Reading this book as really help me becomes familiar how really life was back in Willie Cather life. I can say that she was a little confused on her life situation. But A Lost Lady was a good novel by the author. I really enjoy reading a book that was interest about a pioneer. I can say that most pioneers were a little bold back in the days. I like the book, because it has a good plot to it which I can relate to. The characters in the book are funny and it seems to be like a movie when reading the book. So, I think you would not be disappointed in reading the book. Just remember that once you read the book, than you can see why I like it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Greatest Novel Ever

    There are no words to express how wonderful this novel is. I cling to every word with delight as I ponder Cather's brilliance.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted July 12, 2012

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    Posted February 6, 2015

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    Posted July 10, 2013

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