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My Ãntonia, by Willa Cather, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences-biographical, historical, and literary-to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
"No romantic novel ever written in America . . . is one half so beautiful as My Ãntonia." -H. L. Mencken Widely recognized as Willa Cather's greatest novel, My Ãntonia is a soulful and rich portrait of a pioneer woman's simple yet heroic life. The spirited daughter of Bohemian immigrants, Ãntonia must adapt to a hard existence on the desolate prairies of the Midwest. Enduring childhood poverty, teenage seduction, and family tragedy, she eventually becomes a wife and mother on a Nebraska farm. A fictional record of how women helped forge the communities that formed a nation, My Ãntonia is also a hauntingly eloquent celebration of the strength, courage, and spirit of America's early pioneers. Gordon Tapper is Assistant Professor of English at DePauw University. He is the author of The Machine That Sings: Modernism, Hart Crane, and the Culture of the Body, from Routledge.
About The Author Gordon Tapper is Assistant Professor of English at DePauw University. He is the author of The Machine That Sings: Modernism, Hart Crane, and the Culture of the Body, from Routledge.
Biography Wilella Sibert Cather was born on December 7, 1873, in the small Virginia farming community of Winchester. When she was ten years old, her parents moved the family to the prairies of Nebraska, where her father opened a farm mortgage and insurance business. Home-schooled before enrolling in the local high school, Cather had a mind of her own, changing her given name to Willa and adopting a variation of her grandmother's maiden name, Seibert, as her middle name.
During Cather's studies at the University of Nebraska, she worked as a drama critic to support herself and published her first piece of short fiction, "Peter," in a Boston magazine. After graduation, her love of music and intellectual pursuits inspired her to move to Pittsburgh, where she edited the family magazine Home Monthly, wrote theater criticism for the Pittsburgh Daily Leader, and taught English and Latin in local high schools. Cather's big break came with the publication of her first short story collection, The Troll Garden (1905). The following year she moved to New York City to work for McClure's Magazine as a writer and eventually the magazine's managing editor. Considered one of the great figures of early-twentieth-century American literature, Willa Cather derived much of her inspiration from the American Midwest, which she considered her home. Never married, she cherished her many friendships, some of which she had maintained since childhood. Her intimate coterie of women writers and artists motivated Cather to produce some of her best work. Sarah Orne Jewett, a successful author from Maine whom Cather had met during her McClure's years, inspired her to devote herself full-time to creating literature and to write about her childhood, which she did in several novels of the prairies. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for her novel about World War I, called One of Ours. She won many other awards, including a gold medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Prix Femina Americaine. On April 24, 1947, two years after publishing her last novel, Willa Cather died in New York City of a cerebral hemorrhage. Among Cather's other accomplishments were honorary doctorate degrees from Columbia, Princeton, and Yale Universities. Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of O, Pioneers!.
Good To Know When Cather first arrived at the University of Nebraska, she dressed as William Cather, her opposite sex twin. Cather was the first woman voted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame, in 1961.
She spent forty years of her life with her companion, Edith Lewis, in New York City.
Reviews Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards.
I definitely liked this book. It really helped me connect with what it was like to live in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It made me realize that you could meet all types of new people while living your life in the 1800s that you could end up staying extremely close with. I also learned about the type of work you would do if you lived back then, most likely on a farm. Death was also very common. You could become very close with someone, until the next day they could come down with a deadly disease that could kill them that die. The book made me realize that I am very glad to be living in the 21st century and not in the 1800s or even the early 1900s. It would have been very difficult to have lived back then, and this book gave me an idea of what it would have been like if I had lived back then. It gave me a specific example of how people felt about life and their relationships with the people they met along their journeys through life. This book also helped my understand some of our country's history. I would recommend this book to students in high school because I feel it is probably too dry for anyone in college or older, but I think that high school students would be interested in learning about life in the late 1800 and early 1900s. It should also help high school students understand some of America多s history just like it helped me. Overall, this was a great book and I especially like how it helped me understand life in the 1800s and helped me to appreciate my life now, knowing what it would have been like back in the day, over one hundred years ago.
Since contemporary novels seldom draw me in and retain my interest past the first 60 pages, I sometimes pursue the bookstore for quality classic literature that I have yet to read. Thanks B&N for including Willa Cather's My Antonia in your Classic Series. Although relatively well-educated and well-read, I discovered this novel when browsing in-store. Cather's story-telling style and vivid descriptions transported me to a different time and place while her character development prompted me to continue reading. The quality of the story made it a page-turner and one of the two novels I have enjoyed reading most in the last 10 years.
Willa Cather多s My Antonia is a timeless masterpiece in literature. The coming of age story of Jim Burden is told in a way that allows the book to withstand the ages of time. The setting, plot, and theme of the story along with other elements give the story a depth, and realness, that few novels achieve. My Antonia tells the story of Jim Burden as he grows up on his grandparents多 farm in Nebraska around the turn of the century. Embedded in the story line of this novel are many literary themes. The coming of age story with Jim shows how he grows from a boy to a teenager, and finally becomes an adult. The trials that Jims goes through and the lessons he learns in his life show how people have to work hard at life and try their best to become the person they want to be. Another theme of this book is to appreciate the people around you and what you are surrounded by. At times in the novel Jim and Antonia don多t get along and they dislikes each other. But in the end, Jim realizes that despite their disagreements and differences Jim still needs and values her (as she does him) and wants to stay friends with Antonia. The themes of this novel surround
the fact of how the people around individuals shape who they are and who they are going to become in their life. Another part of this book that makes it so amazing is the characters. The characters of this book are so believable and their problems make them easier for you to relate to despite the 100-year time difference in setting. In the beginning, the title character Antonia has just immigrated to Nebraska with her family from Bohemia. Throughout the book, all the hard work Antonia has to do to help support her family after her father¿s death, and the way she almost loses herself in the town life but the finds herself again in the end, gives her a realness and a sense of strength to all readers. Jim Burden, the protagonist of the book, gives the story depth as he struggles with inner conflicts. As Jim is growing up he wants to please his grandparents but he also wants to live life and get away from the small town he has grown up in and their image of him as a little boy. The supporting characters such as Mr. and Mrs. Shimerda (Antonia¿s parents), Jim¿s grandfather, and Lena Lingard, also add to and complete the story by creating conflict and helping the two main characters. The lessons characters learn and the way they grow as people also gives the story a realistic feel because the struggles of Jim and Antonia are problems that people could face in real life. The literary element of setting has given My Antonia a very fitting world. Although it is not obvious exactly when the story takes place it is obvious that the novel is set in Black Hawk, Nebraska, sometime around the beginning of the twentieth century. The fact that this book is set in the country as opposed to the city gives it a much more laid back feel and causes you to focus more on the people and their stories without the distracting hustle and bustle of the city. The lack of great importance or activity in the setting, gives the story over completely to plot and character development. Without having to focus on keeping track of an ever-changing setting it is possible for the reader to focus more on aspects of the story such as Antonia and her family, Jim and his family, and the relationship between the two. Two final literary elements in My Antonia are the point of view and plot. Told in 1st person by Jim Burden, the point of view of this story gives Jim a deepness as you get to look at all of his thought and feelings. This point of view also allows you to look at one of the major conflicts of the plot, Jim vs. his inner self. Jim is trying to find and become the kind of person he wants to be beyond high school and find his own identity. There are other plots of the story as well but this plot wouldn¿t be possible if the book were told from a different point of view. Other plots of the story include the ups and dow
Read An Excerpt From Gordon Tapper's Introduction to My Ãntonia In one of Jewett's most important letters to Cather, she addresses the relationship between fiction and its autobiographical sources in words that would resonate deeply with the narrative design of My Ãntonia. Jewett was concerned that Cather had not yet learned to see her "backgrounds . . . from the outside,-you stand right in the middle of each of them when you write, without having the standpoint of the looker-on" (quoted in Lee, p. 22). In My Ãntonia, Cather makes just this kind of effort to see her experience "from the outside" by inventing Jim Burden, the transformed version of herself who serves as the first-person narrator. In addition to giving Jim many of her own experiences, Cather sets him on a journey into his past that echoes the imaginative reconstruction of her own childhood. In the introduction that establishes the narrative framework for My Ãntonia, we learn that Jim is a very successful middle-aged man-"legal counsel for one of the great Western railways"-living in New York. Like Cather, who also lived most of her adult life in Manhattan, he is therefore geographically and culturally remote from his smalltown origins. As Jewett suggested, Cather's appreciation for her provincial "parish" would be made possible by her knowledge of the wider world, and Cather places Jim in a similar position. But if Jim represents a fictional alter ego who allows Cather to observe her own return to the past from the "standpoint of the looker-on," Cather begins the novel by very explicitly distinguishing herself from her narrator. Cather revisits her Nebraska childhood in several of her early novels, but it is only in My Ãntonia that she creates an intriguing dialogue between herself and one of her characters, which occurs in a brief introductory section of the novel. Instead of writing from the point of view of Jim, as she does everywhere else in the novel, Cather adopts the voice of a first-person narrator who meets Jim by chance aboard a train. Although she never names this speaker,
Cather suggests that it is yet another version of herself, since she very unobtrusively reveals that the narrator is both a woman and an experienced writer. (In order to distinguish Cather the author from this female narrator, who never reappears in the novel proper, many critics refer to the narrator as "Cather.") The narrator and Jim are old friends who grew up together in a small Nebraska town, and during their reminiscences they talk fondly of Ãntonia, who "seemed to mean to us the country, the conditions, the whole adventure of our childhood". Although Jim and the narrator agree that Ãntonia somehow embodies the essence of their childhood, their individual relationships to her differ in several critical ways. Unlike the narrator, who has lost touch with her, Jim has reestablished a close friendship with Ãntonia. When Jim expresses his surprise that the narrator has "never written anything about Ãntonia," the narrator confesses that she had never known Ãntonia as well as he had. The two then agree that they will both try recording their memories of this "central figure" of their past. Jim cautions, however, that he is not a practiced writer (implying that "Cather" is) and will therefore have to write about Ãntonia "in a direct way, and say a great deal about myself. It's through myself that I knew and felt her". In response, the narrator draws attention to the distinction between their male and female perspectives: I told him that how he knew her and felt her was exactly what I most wanted to know about Ãntonia. He had had opportunities that I, as a little girl who watched her come and go, had not. On one level, the narrator is simply trying to reassure Jim that there is nothing wrong with writing about himself in the process of remembering Ãntonia, but Cather also seems to be offering an indirect justification for adopting a male persona in her novel. Behind the essentially transparent mask of "Cather" the narrator, Cather the author is asserting that the female perspective of "a little girl" will not do Ãntonia justice, because it does not allow her to understand Ãntonia as the object of someone's desire. Cather thought of Ãntonia as her heroine, yet she gives the reader very little access to Ãntonia's inner life, which is only conveyed secondhand through Jim's perspective. By allowing Jim to control the narrative, Cather distances the reader from Ãntonia, but it is precisely because Cather wants to imagine a man's feelings for Ãntonia that she wrote the novel from a man's point of view.
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