Willa Cather and Material Culture: Real-World Writing, Writing the Real World

Overview

A compilation of essays focusing on the significance of material culture to Cather’s work and Cather scholarship.

Willa Cather and Material Culture is a collection of 11 new essays that tap into a recent and resurgent interest among Cather scholars in addressing her work and her career through the lens of cultural studies. One of the volume's primary purposes is to demonstrate the extent to which Cather did participate in her culture and to ...

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Willa Cather and Material Culture: Real-World Writing, Writing the Real World

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Overview

A compilation of essays focusing on the significance of material culture to Cather’s work and Cather scholarship.

Willa Cather and Material Culture is a collection of 11 new essays that tap into a recent and resurgent interest among Cather scholars in addressing her work and her career through the lens of cultural studies. One of the volume's primary purposes is to demonstrate the extent to which Cather did participate in her culture and to correct the commonplace view of her as a literary connoisseur set apart from her times.

The contributors explore both the objects among which Cather lived and the objects that appear in her writings, as well as the commercial constraints of the publishing industry in which her art was made and marketed. Essays address her relationship to quilts both personally and as symbols in her work; her contributions to domestic magazines such as Home Monthly and Woman's Home Companion; the problematic nature of Hollywood productions of her work; and her efforts and successes as a businesswoman. By establishing the centrality of material matters to her writing, these essays contribute to the reclaiming of Cather as a modernist and highlight the significance of material culture, in general, to the study of American literature.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This collection is significant for focusing attention upon the importance of material culture to Cather and to her writing. Beyond its significance to understanding Cather, the [book] provides a case study of the range of approaches to material culture in American literary studies."--Susan Rosowski, author of The Voyage Perilous: Willa Cather's Romanticism

“This tightly edited collection has two objectives: first, to underscore the importance of material objects in Cather’s supposedly unfurnished fiction; second, to remind us of the material conditions under which her work . . . was marketed and sold. Packed with original research . . . the volume achieves both goals. Cather specialists and scholars interested in the American literary marketplace will find Willa Cather and Material Culture absorbing and rewarding.”—Great Plains Quarterly
 

“Willa Cather and Material Culture provides a thought-provoking introduction to cultural studies approaches to Cather . . . [and] avoids some of the faults that such compilations often fall victim to by maintaining focus on the themes announced in the editor’s introduction while also managing to offer a satisfying variety of response. In addition, the collection is instructive about lesser-known work and periods in Cather’s literary life and about her biography and her cultural surrounds.”—Modern Fiction Studies
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817357313
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2012
  • Series: Amer Lit Realism & Naturalism Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Janis P. Stout is the author of Katherine Anne Porter: A Sense of the Times; Through the Window, Out the Door: Women's Narratives of Departure, from Austin and Cather to Tyler, Morrison, and Didion; Willa Cather: The Writer and Her World; and A Calender of the Letters of Willa Cather.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : for use, for pleasure, for status : the object world of Willa Cather 1
1 Willa Cather : a life with quilts 15
2 To entertain, to educate, to elevate : Cather and the commodification of manners at the Home monthly 37
3 "That kitchen with the shining windows" : Willa Cather's "Neighbour Rosicky" and the Woman's home companion 66
App Selected thematic concordance to "Neighbour rosicky" 77
4 Taking liberties : Willa Cather and the 1934 film adaptation of A lost lady 113
5 Object lessons : nature education, museum science, and ethnographic tourism in The professor's house 125
6 "An orgy of acquisition" : the female consumer, infidelity, and commodity culture in A lost lady and The professor's house 144
7 "Fragments of their desire" : Willa Cather and the alternative aesthetic tradition of Native American women 156
8 Material objects as sites of cultural mediation in Death comes for the archbishop 171
9 Gloves full of gold : violations of the gift cycle in My mortal enemy 188
10 Words to do with things : reading about Willa Cather and material culture 207
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