Synopses & Reviews
After moving to Red Cloud, Nebraska, Willa Cather quickly embraced the mythology of the prairie states. Many of the stories in Coming, Aphrodite! are inspired by the townsfolk, rumors, and history she first encountered in her new home. "Peter" is based on the suicide of a bohemian farmhand named Frank Sadelek, a figure who haunted Cather's memory for many years; "The Sculptor's Funeral" portrays the disparity between an acclaimed artist and his "barbarian" neighbors; and "Old Mrs. Harris". a portrait of a woman who endured the hardships of farm life, can be read as a tribute to Cather's parents who followed their own version of the American dream. The stories "The Diamond Mine" and "Scandal" highlight Cather's views of the turn-of-the-century woman and are still admired for their insights on gender and modernity.
Best known for the distinctive portraits of the people and land of the American West in her prairie novels, Willa Cather is one of the greatest American writers of this century. The fourteen short stories in this richly diverse collection, along with an exemplary introduction by author Cynthia Griffin Wolff, allow for a more complex view of Cather. As a writer she was intrigued by nature's ruthlessness and mankind's limitless potential for brutality and had a passion for the beauty of art. Ranging from the simplicity of Cather's first published story, "Peter" (1892), to the extraordinary eroticism of "Coming, Aphrodite!" (1920), this Twentieth-Century Classics collection is an engaging and triumphant testament to the genius of an American literary icon.
About the Author
Born in Virginia in 1873 and raised on a Nebraska ranch, Willa Cather is known for her beautifully evocative short stories and novels about the American West. Cather became the managing editor for McClure’s Magazine
in 1906 and lived for forty years in New York City with her companion Edith Lewis. In 1922 Cather won the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours
, the story of a Western boy in World War I. In 1933 she was awarded the Prix Femina Americaine “for distinguished literary accomplishments.” She died in 1947.
Photo: AKG London
Table of Contents
Coming, Aphrodite! Introduction by Cynthia Griffin Wolff
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Text
YOUTH AND THE BRIGHT MEDUSA
The Diamond Mine
A Gold Slipper
A Wagner Matinée
The Sculptor's Funeral
"A Death in the Desert"
The Profile (1907)
The Enchanted Bluff (1909)
The Joy of Nelly Deane (1911)
Behind the Singer Tower (1912)
FROM OBSCURE DESTINIES (1932) Old Mrs. Harris