Though most eBooks are simple conversions of paper books, "The eNotated My Antonia" is a completely new approach that takes advantage of the potential eBook technology offers to extend and enrich Cather's writing in a way that's convenient to use while still unobtrusive to the reader.
Based on the 1918 edition of "My Antonia" and including eight original illustrations and twelve additional images, this eNotated edition extends Cather's writing by providing a new layer of information behind the text the reader can access before, during, and after each chapter.
For instance, in Chapter 15, when Cather uses the term "goods-box," Bedell's eNotation tells us Cather means "A box of wood used for shipping food, clothing, equipment, and the like, common before the advent of pasteboard cartons."
Additional material includes a Cather timeline, an events timeline, a Nebraska pioneer history, and essays on three themes expressed in the novel: TIME - The Incommunicable Past; NARRATOR - The Road to the Past; and ELEGIAC - The Wind's Bitter Song.
"My Antonia," one of the great novels of America pioneer life, reveals, according to Bedell, "the constant worry about basic survival; the circumstances of desolation and isolation, particularly for the foreign-born; the relentless heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter; and the plight of rural and small-town women." Cather gave witness to "this particular time and place in such a way that she, too, became a pioneer--this time with her realistic, honest, and forthright portrayal of a period of the American experience that elevated her to a prominent place in our literary tradition."
If you are going to read Cather for the first time - or reread her after some years - you will best enjoy and most throughly understand her with this unique eNotated edition.
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About the Author
I know of no other novel, except F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, that better conveys a sense of loss of what America once was. In Fitzgerald's masterpiece, the narrator Nick Carraway comes to learn that Jay Gatsby's dream--the American dream--is already behind him. "And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night." Similarly, the feelings that Cather's narrator Jim Burden expresses in regard to Antonia as they part for the last time carry the weight of a time forever gone: the innocence of childhood lost, the landscape forever altered and changed, the promise and hope of America now diminished by the past.
Date of Birth:December 7, 1873
Date of Death:April 27, 1947
Place of Birth:Winchester, Virginia
Place of Death:New York, New York
Education:B.A., University of Nebraska, 1895
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was the first time I'd ever read this novel, so I'd hoped to buy a richly annotated edition that could offer comment and context. The description of this edition promised “extends Cather’s writing by providing a new layer of information behind the text the reader can access before, during, and after each chapter.” BUT it's unlikely that I'll buy an "eNotated" version from this publisher (“eNotated Classics) again. Beware of misleading statements in advertising! I’m so annoyed that I might consider asking BN for my money back on account of false advertising. Anyway, here's what buying this book gets you: 1. Links for vocab words (at least one of which was defined AFTER it had been used a number of times). And frankly, you can get most words on your eReader without needing a glossary in the book itself. So that was not helpful. 2. Three are three essays by Bedell that left me wishing for more. My issue isn’t with the annotator; it’s with the overall presentation that was probably dictated by the publisher. 3. Supplemental materials about Cather: a timeline of her life and a timeline of events in her life, both of which lacked any helpful detail or insight about how to read the book in relation to what we know about Cather’s life, career, and philosophies. Plus, since these materials don’t show up until after the book’s pages, it doesn’t help at all during the actual reading. 4. There are NO FOOTNOTES for context or criticism, etc. There were countless points during my reading when a footnote could have offered great insight but didn't materialize. So much for “information behind the text the reader can access before, during, and after each chapter” to “extend and enrich Cather’s writing.” This edition lacked what was promised, IMHO. 5. Annoying italics. Many passages in the book are annoyingly italicized with words indicating a vague theme after them (time, elegiac, etc.). While I enjoy byways to information that can lead to a deeper understanding of the text (hello, footnotes!), I do not like being distracted by unnecessary italics that, frankly, mutilated Cather’s prose. Last thing: This was my mistake, but maybe it needs mentioning. I always skip introductions when I'm reading a book for the first time (no spoilers, please!), so I skipped Bedell's intro and also Cather's. Bad move. Had there been annotations to help me along, I might have realized that reading Cather's intro first is hugely important to the story because it's part of the story line. I only discovered that when I went back and read it again. Again, footnotes--any notes, any direction at all--might have helped. If you're looking for an annotated version of My Antonia, I hope you'll find a better one elsewhere. All that said, the book itself is gorgeous--perhaps one of my favorite reads and a fantastic example of first-pers on narrative, if you're into that kind of thing. :-)