Death Comes for the Archbishop

Death Comes for the Archbishop

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by Willa Cather
     
 

Death Comes for the Archbishop is a 1927 novel by Willa Cather. It concerns the attempts of a Catholic bishop and a priest to establish a diocese in New Mexico Territory.

The novel was included on Time's 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 and Modern Library's list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

The… See more details below

Overview

Death Comes for the Archbishop is a 1927 novel by Willa Cather. It concerns the attempts of a Catholic bishop and a priest to establish a diocese in New Mexico Territory.

The novel was included on Time's 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 and Modern Library's list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

The primary character is Bishop Jean Marie Latour, who travels with his friend and vicar Joseph Vaillant from Sandusky, Ohio to New Mexico to take charge of the newly established diocese of New Mexico, which has only just become a territory of the United States. The names given to the main proponents reflect their characters. Vaillant, valiant, is fearless in his promulgation of the faith, whereas Latour, the tower, is more intellectual and reserved than his comrade.

At the time of his departure, Cincinnati is the end of the railway line west, so Latour must travel by riverboat to the Gulf of Mexico, and thence overland to New Mexico, a journey which takes an entire year. He spends the rest of his life establishing the Roman Catholic church in New Mexico, where he dies in old age.

The novel is notable for its portrayal of two well-meaning and devout French priests who encounter a well-entrenched Spanish-Mexican clergy they are sent to supplant when the United States acquired New Mexico and the Vatican, in turn, remapped its dioceses.[2]

Several of these entrenched priests are depicted in classic manner as examples of greed, avarice and gluttony, while others live simple, abstemious lives among the Native Americans. Cather portrays the Hopi and Navajo sympathetically, and her characters express the near futility of overlaying their religion on a millennia-old native culture. Cather's vivid landscape descriptions are also memorable. A scene where a priest and his Native American guide take cover in an ancient cave during a blizzard is especially memorable for its superb portrayal of the combined forces of nature and culture.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012521743
Publisher:
Hyait Publishing
Publication date:
05/05/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
103,617
File size:
0 MB

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