In these six stories, Willa Cather vividly captures the character of early 1900s Pittsburgh, a place she called home during her formative years as a writer. She depicts a city a where culture is beginning to take root, rising from the harsh industrial landscape. Her characters, ranging from a skinny young usher boy to an elderly doctor, seek meaning in music, art, and human connection. Through them, Cather explores the dual nature of art as a higher purpose. Art tugs at the edges of human emotion, inspiring a sense of wonder, but also instilling an insatiable longing for beauty in a disorderly world. Cather deftly captures transient moments of brilliance and pain to convince us of this fundamental truth.
About the Author
After graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1895, WILLA CATHER obtained a position in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on a family magazine. Later she worked as copy editor and music and drama editor of The Pittsburgh Leader. PETER ORESICK is a scholar of Western Pennsylvania literature, and a poet whose works include Iconoscope, Warhol-O-Rama, and Working Classics: Poems on Industrial Life. He has taught at Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Emerson College.
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
Table of Contents
Introduction • The Professor’s Commencement • Paul’s Case • The Namesake • A Gold Slipper • Uncle Valentine • Double Birthday • Chronology