Willa Cather (1873-1947) was probably the last American writer in the late 19th-century realist tradition. Born in Virginia and raised in Nebraska, her best remembered works (e.g., O, Pioneers!, My Antonia) recreate a long-vanished prairie life. It is interesting learning about her roots, but the woman herself is a far more fascinating topic. She resisted feminine fashion trends, cutting her hair to boys' length and wearing neckties through high school and half of college. She was the first female editor of a major magazine (McClure's), edited and revised the autobiography of Mary Baker Eddy of Christian Science fame, won a Pulitzer Prize, and caused many an upper class mother's despair by catching the heart of her marriageable daughter. For starters, Milton Meltzer's latest entry in the "Literary Greats" series is another thorough and competent biography for young readers. The volume is library-bound and peppered with nicely-reproduced photographs. Its backmatter includes a chronology of Cather's life, source notes, bibliographies, Internet resources, and an index. It should enhance any library. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
Willa Cather: A Biographyby Milton Meltzer
Willa Cather's childhood in post-Civil War Virginia, her adolescence on the Nebraska prairies, her love of the Southwest, and her intimate knowledge of opera and the theater provided her with the characters and setting for a dozen novels and numerous short stories. Cather's story is one of a woman who carefully guarderd her privacy while expressing her feelings and attitudes through the characters she created.
Gr 7 Up- Meltzer describes the life of this Pulitzer Prize-winning author in a concise, easy-to-follow text. Cather was born in Virginia but raised on the Nebraska plains from the time she was nine. Her early experiences shaped her writing and influenced her characters for the rest of her life. Meltzer does a fine job of explaining the times in which she lived; Cather defied convention by excelling in fields not usually entered by women. Her intellect and determination made her a successful teacher, reporter, magazine editor, and author. The issue of her apparent lesbianism is broached almost apologetically, her close "bonds," including living arrangements with other women, described discreetly. Cather's ties to wealthy and influential people are chronicled in detail as are her inspirations for most of her famous works. Black-and-white photos with informative captions adorn almost every page. A solid resource for reports.-Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library
Meet the Author
Milton Meltzer has written over one hundred books for young people. In 2001 Meltzer was the recipient of the American Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, honoring his lifetime body of work. He has twice been nominated for the National Book Award.
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