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Memorial Fictions: Willa Cather and the First World War
     

Memorial Fictions: Willa Cather and the First World War

by Steven Kirk Trout
 

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Memorial Fictions offers a major reassessment of Willa Cather's career and artistic achievements, provides a plethora of information on popular culture during and immediately after the Great War, and demonstrates the importance of literature as a cultural forum for addressing issues and ideas fundamental to American culture.

Based on extensive archival

Overview

Memorial Fictions offers a major reassessment of Willa Cather's career and artistic achievements, provides a plethora of information on popular culture during and immediately after the Great War, and demonstrates the importance of literature as a cultural forum for addressing issues and ideas fundamental to American culture.

Based on extensive archival research and a variety of scholarly sources drawn from several disciplines, Steven Trout shows how Cather's analysis of the First World War in One of Ours and The Professor's House represents a considerable accomplishment, one worthy of standing next to her groundbreaking treatment of Nebraska settlers in O Pioneers! and My Ántonia and her virtual reinvention of the historical novel in Death Comes for the Archbishop and Shadows on the Rock. Furthermore, he argues that Cather's First World War–related fiction deserves consideration alongside such established classics as Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, and Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth.

Though awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1923, One of Ours was a frequently maligned and misunderstood book. Contemporary male reviewers reviled the work, and it has been Cather's most neglected novel among later generations of readers and scholars. Trout not only reevaluates the impact of the First World War on Cather's fiction but also demonstrates that One of Ours, far from representing a dubious achievement within the Cather canon, renders the American experience of the war with prophetic insight and considerable imaginative vigor. He also offers a detailed reappraisal of The Professor's House, showing it to be a novel haunted by the phantomlike presence of the Great War.

Editorial Reviews

Virginia Quarterly Review
"Memorial Fictions is a densely written book offering new insight on fiction about war."—Virginia Quarterly Review
Seattle Times

“Tightly written and beautifully constructed. . . . A tribute to the creative spirit, which is beyond anything as fragile as the thinking mind.”—David Guy, Seattle Times

Modern Fiction Studies

"Extensively researched and written with Cather-like grace and clarity; it should be ranked among the very best critical studies of the past decade."—Joseph Urgo, Modern Fiction Studies

South Carolina Review

Memorial Fictions is a well researched, informative, and often stimulating book. . . . It provides valuable insight not only into One of Ours but into an important chapter in American cultural history.”—Janis P. Stout, South Carolina Review

The Michigan Historical Review
Memorial Fictions, a superb interdisciplinary study, thoroughly researched and cogently argued, suggests new ways of reading One of Ours and The Professor’s House as war literature. . . . A provocative and welcome addition to Cather studies.”—The Michigan Historical Review
South Carolina Review - Janis P. Stout
Memorial Fictions is a well researched, informative, and often stimulating book. . . . It provides valuable insight not only into One of Ours but into an important chapter in American cultural history.”—Janis P. Stout, South Carolina Review
Seattle Times - David Guy
“Tightly written and beautifully constructed. . . . A tribute to the creative spirit, which is beyond anything as fragile as the thinking mind.”—David Guy, Seattle Times
Modern Fiction Studies - Joseph Urgo
"Extensively researched and written with Cather-like grace and clarity; it should be ranked among the very best critical studies of the past decade."—Joseph Urgo, Modern Fiction Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803218376
Publisher:
UNP - Nebraska Paperback
Publication date:
12/01/2002
Pages:
225
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Steven Trout is an associate professor of English at Fort Hays State University. He is coeditor of Literature of the Great War Reconsidered: Beyond Modern Memory.

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