Obscure Destinies

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Overview


The jacket of the first edition of Obscure Destinies announced “Three New Stories of the West,” heralding Willa Cather’s return to what many thought of as “her” territory—the Great Plains. These three stories, “Neighbour Rosicky,” “Old Mrs. Harris,” and “Two Friends,” reflected her return to the well of memory that had inspired the books that made her reputation.

The Willa Cather Scholarly Edition presents for the first time the three stories in their historical and biographical context, with an interpretive historical essay and detailed explanatory notes. The textual essay and apparatus establish the definitive text and trace Cather’s changes through newly discovered prepublication versions.

Three short stories set in the west: "Neighbor Rosicky," "Mrs. Harris," and "Two Friends."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803214309
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Series: Willa Cather Scholarly Edition Series
  • Edition description: Scholarly Edition
  • Pages: 460
  • Sales rank: 1,028,478
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Willa Cather

Kari A. Ronning is assistant editor for the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition at the University of Nebraska. Frederick M. Link is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Nebraska and a textual editor of the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition. Mark L. Kamrath is an assistant professor of English at the University of Central Florida.

Biography

Wilella Sibert Cather was born on December 7, 1873, in the small Virginia farming community of Winchester. When she was ten years old, her parents moved the family to the prairies of Nebraska, where her father opened a farm mortgage and insurance business. Home-schooled before enrolling in the local high school, Cather had a mind of her own, changing her given name to Willa and adopting a variation of her grandmother's maiden name, Seibert, as her middle name.

During Cather's studies at the University of Nebraska, she worked as a drama critic to support herself and published her first piece of short fiction, "Peter," in a Boston magazine. After graduation, her love of music and intellectual pursuits inspired her to move to Pittsburgh, where she edited the family magazine Home Monthly, wrote theater criticism for the Pittsburgh Daily Leader, and taught English and Latin in local high schools. Cather's big break came with the publication of her first short story collection, The Troll Garden (1905). The following year she moved to New York City to work for McClure's Magazine as a writer and eventually the magazine's managing editor.

Considered one of the great figures of early-twentieth-century American literature, Willa Cather derived much of her inspiration from the American Midwest, which she considered her home. Never married, she cherished her many friendships, some of which she had maintained since childhood. Her intimate coterie of women writers and artists motivated Cather to produce some of her best work. Sarah Orne Jewett, a successful author from Maine whom Cather had met during her McClure's years, inspired her to devote herself full-time to creating literature and to write about her childhood, which she did in several novels of the prairies. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for her novel about World War I, called One of Ours.

She won many other awards, including a gold medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Prix Femina Americaine. On April 24, 1947, two years after publishing her last novel, Willa Cather died in New York City of a cerebral hemorrhage. Among Cather's other accomplishments were honorary doctorate degrees from Columbia, Princeton, and Yale Universities.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of O, Pioneers!.

Good To Know

When Cather first arrived at the University of Nebraska, she dressed as William Cather, her opposite sex twin.

Cather was the first woman voted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame, in 1961.

She spent forty years of her life with her companion, Edith Lewis, in New York City.

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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

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