In the final volume in her prairie trilogy, Willa Cather fully transforms memory into art to create her most autobiographical novel.
Set in the Nebraska landscape in a community evocative of Cather’s own (Red Cloud), My Ántonia tells the story of Ántonia Shimerda, a Bohemian immigrant, and Jim Burden, who like Cather was uprooted from Virginia to the Nebraska prairie. Ántonia and Jim, like many of the other characters in this 1918 novel, are based on Cather’s childhood friends. This Norton Critical Edition is based on the first published edition of the novel. It is accompanied by explanatory footnotes, key illustrations, an introduction that gives readers a historical overview of both author and novel, and a note on the text.
“Contexts and Backgrounds” is a rich collection of materials organized around the novel’s central themes: “Autobiographical and Biographical Writings,” “Letters,” and “Americanization and Immigration.” Willa Cather, Edith Lewis, Latrobe Carroll, Rose C. Feld, Guy Reynolds, Woodrow Wilson, Peter Roberts, Horace M. Kallen, Sarka B. Hrbkova, and Rose Rosicky, among others, are included.
“Criticism” spans a century of scholarship on Willa Cather and My Ántonia, from contemporary reviews by Henry Walcott Boynton, H. L. Mencken, and Elia W. Peattie, among others, to recent critical assessments by Terence Martin, Blanche Gelfant, Jean Schwind, Richard H. Millington, Susan Rosowski, Mike Fischer, Janis Stout, Marilee Lindemann, and Linda Joyce Brown.
A Chronology of Cather’s life and work and a Selected Bibliography are also included.