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First published in 1923, A Lost Lady is one of Willa Cather’s classic novels about life on the Great Plains. It harks back to Nebraska’s early history and contrasts those days with an unsentimental portrait of the materialistic world that supplanted the frontier. In her subtle portrait of Marian Forrester, whose life unfolds in the midst of this disquieting transition, Cather created one of her most memorable and finely drawn characters.
This Willa Cather Scholarly Edition of A Lost Lady is edited according to standards set by the Committee for Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association. The historical essay describes the origin, writing, and reception of the novel as well as motion pictures that were later based on it; and a selection of archival photographs illuminates the connection between the novel and the people and places from Cather’s formative years in Nebraska. Explanatory notes identify locations, literary references, persons, events, and specialized terminology. The textual essays describe the production and subsequent revisions of the text.
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.
"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
"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
Posted April 26, 2009
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