Willa Cather, Great Pulitzer Prize Winning Author

It was a fine day to go to the circus at Frankfort, a fine day to do anything; the sort of day that must, somehow, turn out well.
One of Ours, by Wilella Cather
*Pulitzer Prize 1923

The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy;
only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is.

Willa Cather

I have never read a Wilella Cather book and how that can be I do not know. When I saw this quote, I went to Wikipedia, my first stop when I am curious it seems. Then I visited the web site that honors her. It was there that I found the most information. It seems she was a Pulitzer Prize winning author and evidently a formidable woman in her time. She dressed in masculine clothes, worked in a man’s world, was well educated and kept a very private life. The name took me back to American Literature and Social Science classes in college where her name came up more than once. I am sure that in later years she appeared in Women’s Study group lectures and reading assignments.

She was a small town girl moved to Nebraska at a young age and received her college degree at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Even though she moved to New York City, worked for McClure
Magazine, and wrote books imitating Henry James, it wasn’t until she returned home and wrote about what she knew best that she received the Pulitzer Prize. The prize was awarded in 1923 for One of Ours. She was praised by the likes of H.L. Mencken who thought she should have won the Nobel Prize when she lost to Sinclair Lewis. She and Lewis were both famous muckrakers. (*A muckraker is an American English term for one who investigates and exposes issues of corruption that violate widely held values…. Wikipedia.)

Her critical biography in the ‘muckraker’ style about the founder of the Christian Science Church founder, Mary Eddy Clark, caused a great uproar and supposedly the church tried to buy up all the copies after it’s publication in 1909.
(*Wikipedia did say, however, that some of the information gathered in their article was not substantiated.) University of Nebraska Press republished it in 1993.

I am sure that there is much more to her story but she stated in her will that she did not want any of her private papers, manuscripts or letters published. So anything we read about her private life is either speculation or information gathered from letters written by relatives or friends. Maybe someday we will know more but not now!

You can read her books online free at a site called Willa Cather Works.

I will be reading her writing soon.


*Wilipedia is a free infomation gathering site written by people like you and me and may not be the most reliable source. However, much of the information is footnoted and I find that the publishers include disclaimers if they are not satisfied with the documentation.


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