The last essay in the collection is titled Katherine Mansfield Cather had tremendous respect for Mansfields writing. One goes back and runs through the pages to find the text which made one know certain things It's an overtone, "that makes one know this writer Mansfield had something of the gift which is one of the rarest things in writing, and quite the most precious". Mansfield died at age 34 and Cather believed, rightly so, that she was just coming into her own and would have contributed much more, and much better, to the world of literature and to a legacy that was uniquely her own.
View all 3 comments. Jan 23, Khush rated it it was amazing. Willa Cather writes about literature and writers, and in doing so she creates an extraordinary book.
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The first chapter, titled 'A chance Meeting', is my favourite. In this chapter, she writes about meeting an elegant woman in a posh hotel in the south of France. As they talk, the old woman turns out to be the niece of the French author Nabokov. Willa Cather writes about this revelation as thus: There was nothing to say, certainly.
The room was absolutely quiet, but there was nothing to say to this disclosure. It was like being suddenly brought up against a mountain of memories.
One could not see around it; one could only stupidly realize that in this mountain which the old lady had conjured up by a phrase and a name or two lay most of one's mental past. Some moments went by. There was no word with which one could greet such a revelation. I took one of her lovely hands and kissed it, in homage to a great period…'' The book throughout maintains a great linguistic atmosphere, full of great observations on books and writers; and as a reader I felt fully immersed in her world and the world she describes.
It also gives some amusing and astute observations on writers such as Dickens, Balzac, Nabokov, Lawrence and so forth. She wrote one full chapter on Katherine Mansfield. What is so amazing about this book is that I feel I am in close proximity of these writers. Another great feature of this book , Knopf is its typography. It is such a delightful experience to hold this book and go through its pages. Surprisingly, as I finished the book, the last page of the book describes its design.
I wish modern day publishers design at least a few books like this one. With the right content, style and design books become heavenly. If you want to join a dignified literary party, grab this book.
Jun 11, Jaime rated it liked it. Lovely; the recipient of three stars mainly because my heart simply belongs to fiction these days. Several short notes on Willa Cather's encounters including gems like these: The great men are those who have developed slowly, or who have been able to survive the glamour of their early florescence and to go on learning from life.
Shakespeare knew this fact very well, and the Greek dramatists long before him. View all 5 comments. This was the fifth of Cather's works I have read, and the first that failed to win my heart. It is pretty dull, hasn't stood up to the test of time as far as I see it, and the third star is given only because she takes such time and care to develop the character of an old woman as a human being, rather than just an old woman. Unless your world is steeped in the European music and culture of the 's and 's, and unless you have the patience to unravel one paragraph after another in French m This was the fifth of Cather's works I have read, and the first that failed to win my heart.
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Unless your world is steeped in the European music and culture of the 's and 's, and unless you have the patience to unravel one paragraph after another in French most of which I could,some I couldn't without outside help, and the story was boring enough that I got sick of it , then give this a pass. Oct 16, Tom rated it really liked it. I sought out this collection of essays by Willa Cather because I knew it contained a piece entitled "Miss Jewett," about the author of The Country of the Pointed Firs , a book that I recently read and dearly loved.
But I didn't realize that Cather's title meant that this book was not intended for anyone under 40 years of age. We old-timers deserve a book of our own, like a club with a password that the youngsters don't get to join. Jan 24, William rated it it was amazing. This is the book that redeemed Willa Cather for me. Growing up in Virginia and Nebraska, as she herself did, I was forced to read her novels--but they were held up as some sort of patriotism. It's only as an adult that I realized what a fine writer she was, not just as a novelist, but also an essayist, as in this volume.
I read it when I was in my late 20s, so I defied her belief that no one under 40 would like the collection Jun 12, Caroline rated it really liked it. My kind of space cadet, and a full 5 stars for the first essay about her friendship with Flaubert's niece. Feb 20, Les rated it it was ok Shelves: My Original Notes Essays regarding Cather's impressions on good literature.
None of the essays grabbed my attention. One, I couldn't even finish reading. No recollection of this book or the essays. I wonder if I would have a great appreciation for it now that I'm over J'ai bien envie de lire sa correspondance avec celle-ci maintenant. La letteratura viene raccontata e spiegata, in queste pagine, con tanta passione e con "intelligenza della letteratura".
Nel mio cuore hanno un posto speciale quei libri che parlano del mondo della letteratura, e che ne parlano con quella "luce negli occhi" che ho anche io quando ne parlo. Dec 08, Kit rated it really liked it Shelves: The opening reminiscence of an old Frenchwoman with an extraordinary life experience is one of the best things in Cather's oeuvre. Sep 03, Sarah rated it it was amazing. How wonderful to step into the world of Willa Cather as she reflects on literary giants, on writing, and on the human condition.
May 30, Larry Piper rated it liked it. Huh, I was fooled. I pretty much only ever read novels, unless there is a specific subject I need to pursue. But, according to Wikipedia, or something, this book is classified as being essays. I suppose it is that. But much of it appears to be personal memoirs of Cather's interaction with various members of the arts and literary community, set back in the early part of the twentieth century. The memoirs are mostly written as stories, in which Cather meets various people in various locations.
The Huh, I was fooled. They engage in discussions of literature: Anyway, it was short and somewhat interesting. There are six "essays" in this volume. The first tells of a chance meeting with Flaubert's niece at a European watering hole. They spend quite a bit of time discussing Flaubert, Balzac, Turgenev and various other literati of the times.
The second one is more of an essay proper regarding what it true literature and not. What is the appropriate way to write a novel and not. Then we have a memoir of a widow of a publishing tycoon who is generally "at home" to various literati. They have lots of literary discussions. Through this woman, Cather meets Sarah Orne Jewett. The next piece is a discussion of "Miss Jewett" herself. Then we have a discussion of Thomas Mann's retelling of the Biblical story of Jacob and his son, Joseph.
But she was wrong: After graduating from the University of Nebraska, she worked for a Lincoln, Nebraska, newspaper, then moved to Pittsburgh and… More about Willa Cather. Literary Collections Literary Criticism. Also by Willa Cather.
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