The American Southwest was arguably as formative a landscape for Willa Cather's aesthetic vision as was her beloved Nebraska. Both landscapes elicited in her a sense of raw incompleteness. They seemed not so much finished places as things unassembled, more like countries "still waiting to be made into [a] landscape." Cather's fascination with the Southwest led to its presence as a significant setting in three of her most ambitious novels: The Song of the Lark, The Professor's House, and Death Comes for the Archbishop. This volume focuses a sharp eye on how the landscape of the American Southwest served Cather creatively and the ways it shaped her research and productivity. No single scholarly methodology prevails in the essays gathered here, giving the volume rare depth and complexity.
John N. Swift is a professor of English and comparative literary studies at Occidental College. He is the past president of the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation. Joseph R. Urgo is a professor in and the chair of the Department of English at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of In the Age of Distraction and Willa Cather and the Myth of American Migration.
List of Illustrations; Acknowledgments John N. Swift and Joseph R. Urgo - Introduction: Literate Tourism and Cather's Southwest 1. On Mesa Verde 1 John N. Swift - Unwrapping the Mummy: Cather's Mother Eve and the Business of Desire 2 Ann Fisher-Wirth - Anasazi Cannibalism: Eating Eden 3 Matthias Schubnell - From Mesa Verde to Germany: The Appropriation of Indian Artifacts as Part of Willa Cather's Cultural Critique in The Professor's House 4 Marilee Lindemann - Fear of a Queer Mesa?: Faith, Friendship, and National Sexuality in "Tom Outland's Story" 5 John J. Murphy - Holy Cities, Poor Savages, and the Science Culture: Positioning The Professor's House 2. The Professor's House 6 Richard H. Millington - The Experience of Meaning in The Professor's House 7 Merrill Maguire Skaggs - Cather and the Father of History 8 Tom Quirk - Twain and Cather, Once Again 3. Death Comes for the Archbishop 9 Mary Chinery - Willa Cather and the Santos Tradition in Death Comes for the Archbishop 10 Christopher Schedler - Writing Culture: Willa Cather's Southwest 11 Manuel Broncano - Landscapes of the Magical: Cather's and Anaya's Explorations of the Southwest 12 Joseph R. Urgo - Multiculturalism as Nostalgia in Cather, Faulkner, and U.S. Culture David Harrell Afterword: From The Professor's House to the Roundhouse--and Beyond Works Cited; Contributors; Index