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#catherbuddyread
blurb
Cathythoughts
The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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I‘ve been reading a good bit of Edith Wharton recently.. currently reading & loving ‘Glimpses of the Moon ‘.. so when I happened to see this film on our Saturday matinee on TV today , I had to stop & watch .. I received this beautiful copy from you , Suba @batsy ( about 4 years ago .. time flies) & I treasure it dearly 🙏

rockpools How lovely! 2mo
Cathythoughts @Rockpools Yes ! The movie is very good ( the book I loved ) Michelle Pheiffer , Winona Ryder, Daniel Day Lewis .. directed by Martin Scorsese… … I rest my case 👍🏻❤️ (edited) 2mo
batsy 💜 Where does the time go? And yes, a beautiful book and film... It's been a long time since I watched it & feel the need to watch it again now :) 2mo
See All 19 Comments
Leftcoastzen What a wonderful post ! Litsy friends , a great book and a film I need to watch again , it‘s been far too long. 2mo
Tamra Such a beautiful edition! 2mo
TrishB Beautiful book ❤️ 2mo
Nute Love this post and the continued friendship between two readers ( @batsy ) from the initial sharing of a book. Just beautiful!💕 2mo
Cathythoughts @batsy It‘s so well done 👌🏻 I couldn‘t fault it ! 2mo
Cathythoughts @Leftcoastzen Yes ! All that 😁 & well worth another watch 😍 2mo
Cathythoughts @TrishB @Tamra it really is & I could show off the end papers too .. beautiful 😍 2mo
Cathythoughts @Nute I know ❤️ 2mo
LeahBergen I loved that film. I should watch it again soon. 😍 2mo
Cathythoughts @LeahBergen It‘s so good ❤️💫 2mo
nathandrake1997 Books are the best kind of gifts ❤️ Recently my cousin gifted me two books and I'm over the moon 😄❤️ 2mo
Cathythoughts @nathandrake1997 They are the best ❤️lovely to get books from your cousin 😍 2mo
CarolynM Do you know about the #whartonbuddyread group? It's a follow on from the #catherbuddyread. We're only up to her third book, Sanctuary. 2mo
Cathythoughts @CarolynM Thanks! I did see some posts & was getting curious … I‘ll investigate that 👍🏻❤️ 2mo
Cathythoughts @CarolynM I havnt read Sanctuary… I‘ll get a copy 👍🏻 2mo
CarolynM 👍 2mo
85 likes19 comments
blurb
Lcsmcat
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Survey monkey says, Edith Wharton is up next. I‘m going to tag all the #catherbuddyread folks, but please let @Graywacke and me know if you want off the list, or if you‘re not tagged and want on. The Mount, Wharton‘s home, has a website with a list of her published works here: https://www.edithwharton.org/discover/published-works/ The earlier are in the public domain (in the US at least) and can be found at Project Gutenberg.

Lcsmcat Is July a good time to start, to let everyone get the book? 6mo
jewright I love Edith Wharton! I‘ve been out of the loop. Which book are we starting? 6mo
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Lcsmcat @jewright The Touchstone is first on the list at The Mount, so unless someone has another plan, let‘s start with that. 6mo
Lcsmcat And we need a new hashtag! Ideas? 6mo
CarolynM July is good for me. Looking forward to reading my first Wharton🙂 Thanks Linda 6mo
Tamra I wish I could because I sooo love Wharton! 6mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra We tend to spread things out (we spent 2 years on Cather‘s novels) so feel free to join us when you can. Do you want to stay on the list? 6mo
batsy Thank you for this! I'm fine with July too as The Touchstone is available on Gutenberg and that's great :) 6mo
Currey I‘m in for July but wonder if we should start with Fast and Loose which the Mount mentions as her first book even if they did put it at the bottom of the list. Perhaps it is not available. I did not look. 6mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat yes, please! 6mo
Lcsmcat @Currey Fast and Loose was written first, but published last. https://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/17/books/finishing-off-edith-wharton.html so I think it‘s still under copyright. But it is available in paperback if the group wishes to start with it. 6mo
Currey @Lcsmcat Oh, got it. Happy to start with The touchstone then 6mo
Graywacke Thanks @Lcsmcat ! July is great for me. Either novel is ok, but if we do F&L we may want to save extra time for book deliveries (curious title). I‘m getting excited. Hashtags - hmm 🤔 6mo
Graywacke From Wikipedia: “in 1877, at the age of 15, she secretly wrote a 30,000 word novella Fast and Loose.” Based off that line, and considering she didn‘t publish another novella until she was ~38… I‘m thinking i would rather read F&L after i have read other novels. 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @currey I think it might be better to save F&L for when we can appreciate its potential, after we‘ve got a feel for Wharton‘s style. 6mo
rubyslippersreads July and The Touchstone are fine with me. 6mo
arubabookwoman Thanks for setting this up! I love Edith Wharton, and thought I had read most of her novels, but I see there are a lot I've missed, and most of the ones I've read I want to reread. See you all in July. 6mo
Louise Thank you for organizing this. I‘m looking forward to exploring Wharton‘s work with all of you. 6mo
mdm139 July and Touchstone are fine with me too, thanks for organizing 6mo
Graywacke I splurged $1 plus tax for my Kindle copy. What day in July did you have in mind? 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke The last of the big spenders 😀! I just emailed you some organizational questions. 6mo
32 likes3 stack adds22 comments
review
Graywacke
Alexander's Bridge | Willa Cather
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Mehso-so

Cather‘s first, and for the #catherbuddyread our last novel. I like how she mixes the tension of the bridge and that within Alexander‘s mind with the tension in the prose. WC wrote an essay very critical of this book, which is partially an outlier, but also has elements of her later work. I enjoyed it, but don‘t feel any special relationship towards it. Not like with Death Comes for the Archbishop or Tom Outland‘s Story or…

review
batsy
Alexander's Bridge | Willa Cather
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Pickpick

Although Cather's first novel is understandably not as accomplished as her later work, I still liked it. On the surface, it seems like yet another tale of adultery & regrets, but the prevalent Catherian theme of the psychological restlessness of the spirit is one that I'm always drawn to. The inability of her characters to adjust to the (increasingly hypercapitalist) world & their persistent loneliness is something that always sticks with me.

saresmoore Great review! 6mo
Lcsmcat Excellent review! 6mo
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batsy @saresmoore @Lcsmcat Thank you! 😘 6mo
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Great review! I love her work, but haven‘t read this one. Stacked! 6mo
Alfoster Haven‘t read this one but your review convinced me!👏 6mo
batsy @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled @Alfoster Thank you! This did bring about varied reactions from our group, but I hope you find it worth your time 🙂 6mo
75 likes4 stack adds7 comments
blurb
Lcsmcat
Alexander's Bridge | Willa Cather
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Our last Willa Cather, and her first. (There‘s something poetic about that.) While it is not her masterpiece, there‘s something really genuine here. The struggle of making a difficult choice, or set of choices. Explained better here https://cather.unl.edu/scholarship/catherstudies/4/cs004.wasserman I highlighted some quotes that “spoke Cather” to me, and I‘ll put them in the comments. #catherbuddyread.

Lcsmcat “He had preconceived ideas about everything, and his idea about Americans was that they should be engineers or mechanics. He hated them when they presumed to be anything else.” 6mo
Lcsmcat “He had expected that success would bring him freedom and power; but it had brought only power that was in itself another kind of restraint.” 6mo
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Lcsmcat “There was only one thing that had an absolute value for each individual, and it was just that original impulse, that internal heat, that feeling of one's self in one's own breast.” 6mo
Lcsmcat “The mind that society had come to regard as a powerful and reliable machine, dedicated to its service, may for a long time have been sick within itself and bent upon its own destruction.” 6mo
Lcsmcat Finally, the diagram from Encyclopedia Britannica helped me see the type of bridge as a metaphor for Alexander‘s life, tension and compression indeed. 6mo
Currey @Lcsmcat Great diagram of the bridge, good article and wonderful quotes. I certainly understood the book to be about indecision and the personality split it causes but I did not realize it came from Cathers deciding about London. 6mo
CarolynM I'm afraid this book just made me angry. I'm really impatient with the whole "he couldn't help himself" line with infidelity. I thought he treated both women appallingly. How about the choice to behave decently rather than selfishly? (edited) 6mo
batsy I've probably taken on too many buddy reads & had a little too much going on in life because I completely forgot to read this 🙈 Hope to squeeze it in within the next day or so and follow the discussion :) 6mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM In life, I totally agree with you. But I thought it worked to make Cather‘s point. Even dying he couldn‘t make up his mind! 6mo
Lcsmcat @Currey That was an interesting twist, I thought. We could have had an expat Cather, and how different that writer would have been! 6mo
Lcsmcat @batsy It‘s a really quick read. But I get it - I tend to want to join all the book discussions! 6mo
Currey @CarolynM Totally agree with you on treatment of women. It would be too simple to say that Hilda represents his youth and Mrs. Alexander all that is strong and stable in maturity but Cather treats Bartley with a fair amount of scorn also don‘t you think? He is never happy with what he has and he is killed by his own failings. 6mo
Lcsmcat @Currey He‘s killed by his failings, but also his success. His second-in-command didn‘t halt construction because he felt he had to wait for the boss to make the decision. Had Alexander been less of a big shot, would Philip have pulled the plug on his own? 6mo
mdm139 @CarolynM I agree with you and almost stopped reading it. @Currey I also wonder if she killed him in the end as a warning to all men to just keep it zipped and don‘t cheat on your wives. And all his back and forth maybe as a warning that you can‘t be happy and will be sick with guilt if you cheat 6mo
mdm139 I wonder if his job of bridge builder was also a metaphor for deciding between the women and trying to have them both 6mo
mdm139 Cather made Alexander so despicable and made me hate him so much, I wonder if this happened to her or her mom or someone else important to her 6mo
Lcsmcat @mdm139 @CarolynM I have to admit to being surprised at the level of anger against Alexander. Was I happy with his decisions? Absolutely not. But my overwhelming emotion was sorrow. He is a sad little man who wrecked his own life, knows he‘s wrecking it, and can‘t gather the strength to stop. He thought he knew who he was and his identity crumbles before his eyes. I pity the women, but I also pity him. 6mo
Graywacke Completely forgot this was today. I‘m reading and now and will comment when I finish. (So far, 1/3 through, I find it interesting how deeply WC is going into his character and hanging around exploring it. Several of your quotes above come from that.) 6mo
Louise @Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘m sorry to be so absent recently. We are trying to organize a move while also dealing with family medical issues, so I‘m not getting much serious reading done. Please keep tagging me so I can jump back in when life gets more normal again. Are we not reading Not Under Forty? Who is the next author? I‘m glad this group is continuing. You all are such thoughtful readers, and I enjoy the discussions! Until soon! 💗 6mo
Lcsmcat @Louise I‘m sorry you‘re having a rough month. We miss you, and we‘ll be here when you‘re able to get back. Hugs. 6mo
Graywacke My first thoughts on finishing is to think through the parallels between the fatal bridge and his life. I liked how she made the text tense as the book approached the bridge collapse point - his mind reflecting the structural strain and approaching a breaking point. 6mo
Louise Thanks, @Lcsmcat. I look forward to getting back to you all and joining book discussions again! 🤓 6mo
Graywacke @CarolynM @mdm139 like @Lcsmcat I wasn‘t angry with Bartley. Disappointed with his affair. But there was more going on. I think Wilson seemed to understand him best - he wasn‘t brilliant, but has a inner force that couldn‘t rest and spent a significant part of his life trying to manage that. The book is an interesting psychological study. 6mo
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat “killed by his failings” - curious to me how that‘s not precisely true. (Although also it is) He never fully broke down in his head, and he was mostly killed by the accident of time. He wasn‘t around soon enough to see and address the critical and unexpected failure in design. 6mo
Graywacke (Or did Hilda cause him to miss the first telegram?) 6mo
mdm139 @Graywacke I think he missed the telegram because he either was with hilda or thinking about hilda and his wife and his indecision and he dropped the ball and missed the telegram. His mind (if not his body) was else where and it wasn‘t on the job and it ultimately cost him and his workers their lives. 6mo
CarolynM @Currey I don't know about scorn, I thought we were being asked to have some sympathy for his dilemma and I really didn't because it was totally the product of his own choices. @mdm139 If I'd thought of that I might have liked the story more, but taking all those other men with him seems a bit extreme for simple karma! I agree with you about his self absorption being the cause of the missed telegram. I think that's probably the moral of the story. 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I agree about Wilson understanding him best. And he was a start at Cather‘s “detached narrator” style. She developed it further, but that was kind of a beginning. 6mo
Lcsmcat Tagging everyone again to get a discussion going about what‘s next. We sort of said Wharton, and sort of Not Under Forty, but a lot of you didn‘t express an opinion. What do you want to read together next? (Not to interrupt the discussion about this book, just to remind everyone.) 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat trying to come down firmly one way or the other, I found that I can‘t. I‘m ok either way. In my head i like Not Under 40 for completeness and Wharton for discovery. 6mo
Louise I have just ordered Not Under Forty because Cather‘s approach to her own writing and the writing of others really interests me. But as the book is a collection of 6 essays, it would then beg the question: Do we read a collection of Cather‘s letters, too? While these are both things that interest me, for the purposes of this group, my vote would be to move on to Wharton. (edited) 6mo
Louise I‘m interested in Wharton. Other possibilities would be to explore the nyrb classics (a different author/classic each time) or to read someone like Italo Calvino, whose work is playfully philosophical and mind-bending. Or to read a novel from a different country every month. (edited) 6mo
mdm139 @Louise there is already a group that reads a novel from a different country every month (and eats food from there) It is called #foodandlit. Please join us, it is quite fun. 6mo
mdm139 I personally have been picking an classic author to read all their works for years now. I have read Austen and Hemingway and happened to do Cather while the buddy read was going on. I would not mind Wharton, I have only read Ethan Frome. I was also thinking a male author might be good since we just read Cather like Steinbeck, or Fitzgerald. Or the Bronte sisters. Just some other ideas for a new author. 6mo
Louise @mdm139 Thanks for letting me know about the #foodandlit group. I‘ve been reading my way around the world very slowly because it‘s so hard to choose just one book from each country. I‘ll take a look at what that group is reading. Sounds fun! You‘ve made some nice suggestions for this group too. There are so many interesting authors whose works would be fun to delve into! 6mo
mdm139 @Louise the groups is giving a country each month and you can read any books set in that country or by an author from the country. There is no set book we all read, but some books are more popular and a few of us just happen to read the same book. This month is Russia and a few of us are reading the Secrets we Kept. We don‘t hold a discussion like this group. We just post our own reviews on what we read and ate. 6mo
Currey I have only read Ethan Frome but that was rather devastating. I could move on to Wharton or another author if others prefer. 6mo
Lcsmcat Ok, to try to get everyone‘s opinions on what to read next in one place, here‘s a one-question survey monkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/J3VQ9SN Answer it there and I‘ll tabulate the votes. 6mo
Louise @mdm139 Thanks for that explanation. I like the freedom in that set-up! 6mo
batsy Thank you @Lcsmcat and sorry for the delay! I voted for Wharton (but I'm happy to join in for any other author that gets the vote as long as I'm able to get copies of the books :) 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat thanks! (I went with Wharton) 6mo
batsy I just finished, & don't feel so much anger for Alexander as sorrow. He did make me impatient at times, but there's a larger issue of him not being able to identify what would make him true to himself & live his life according to those principles, I think. In that sense I also feel sympathy for his wife, because forging a life with someone like that comes at a cost. And then it all came to an abrupt end for both, & she's left with the regrets. 6mo
Lcsmcat @batsy I had the same reaction. It was all just so sad. 6mo
CarolynM I'm sure I commented re what's next, but it seems not to have posted☹️ I'm going to read Not Under 40 for completeness and I'd love to share it with this group, but I understand if it's not something everyone wants to read. We also talked about reading a Cather biography, which I would definitely be interested in doing. If we're moving on, I voted for Wharton. 6mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM I thought you had posted about NU40 too. Maybe it was on the last story? We‘ve only gotten 4 votes so far and 19 or 20 people are on the tag list, so I‘m hoping for a few more responses before we make a decision. 6mo
CarolynM Yes, that's probably it. Sorry for repeating myself. 6mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM No apology necessary! I‘m just happy you expressed an opinion! 😀 6mo
Louise @CarolynM @Lcsmcat I just received NU40 in the mail and am definitely interested in reading it. So, though I voted for Wharton in the survey, I am also interested in continuing with Cather. There is a lot of great material on her! I have a book of her letters and would also like to read what her partner wrote about her. Her writing about writing and other writers is good too! But I understand if the group wants to stick to fiction and move on. 6mo
CarolynM @Louise I'd be happy to continue Cather buddy reading with you if the group decision is to move on. 6mo
Louise @CarolynM I‘d love that! Thanks for suggesting it! 6mo
34 likes52 comments
blurb
Lcsmcat
Alexander's Bridge | Willa Cather
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Our last Cather before we move on to another author, which is a little bittersweet, is her first novel. It‘s short - my Kindle estimates an hour and 18 minutes to read - so let‘s do it in one go. Discussion on June 5th work for everyone? It‘s public domain so you can get the ebook for free. I‘ll put links in the comments. #catherbuddyread

Lcsmcat https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/94 from Project Gutenberg 7mo
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Suet624 Thank you for the links. 7mo
DivineDiana Thank you! Just downloaded. 7mo
KathyWheeler Thanks for the links! I just got it. 7mo
Currey Thank you for the links. I downloaded a copy also. 7mo
Graywacke Thank you! 🙏 7mo
batsy Thanks for this! It's also available on Serial Reader. 7mo
Lcsmcat @batsy Thanks for sharing. I‘ve not used Serial Reader so I didn‘t think to look there. 7mo
39 likes3 stack adds11 comments
review
batsy
Collected Stories | Willa Cather
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Pickpick

This collection has its high & not-so-high points, as complete story collections often do. Though reading it as part of the #catherbuddyread was fascinating, delving into it as we did after Cather's brilliant novels, in that it crystallises most of her prevalent themes: art vs commerce, freedom in spirit & mind, the sense of communion with nature & the universe that transcends day-to-day banalities, sensitive characters ill-adjusted to the world.

batsy If I wasn't blown away with this collection from start to finish, it's largely because I feel something about the novel form allows Cather the freedom for her ideas & sensibilities, & the short story form can sometimes render it rudimentary or simplistic. There were elements of conservatism or sentimentalism that in the novels become fully fleshed out & take flight. But all in all, what a splendid body of work Cather has produced. 7mo
batsy Many thanks to @Graywacke and @Lcsmcat for organising and to fellow buddy readers for the always fruitful discussions! 7mo
lazydaizee Nice book cover. 7mo
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Lcsmcat Excellent summation! I don‘t believe I‘ve read an author‘s complete oeuvre in order before, and it was fascinating to watch Cather develop her voice, and to experience that with this amazing group gave me so many more insights! 7mo
Graywacke @batsy enjoyed your thoughtful review and loved having you as part of our discussions. 7mo
batsy @nuttybooklady It really is, though I had to make do with the ebook :) 7mo
batsy @Lcsmcat @Graywacke Thank you. I don't think I have either; Cather might be the first author whose complete works I've read! And it was lovely discovering her with all of you 🙂 7mo
CarolynM Great review, as always. I agree not all of the stories were up to the standard of the novels, but I thought a few of them were excellent. 7mo
batsy @CarolynM Thank you! I agree, there were definitely some gems in here & even the stories that I weren't fond of had some indefinable quality, being Cather 🙂 7mo
83 likes3 stack adds9 comments
review
Graywacke
Collected Stories | Willa Cather
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Pickpick

We learned a great deal about WC these last 3 months with these 19 stories and an essay. She was a dynamic author who reveals here much more complexity than her novels indicate. Beginning in a Henry James‘s style, she quickly cultivated her own voice, tying to various experiences in her life and imagination. I liked her novels better, but I love what this collection reveals. So, 5 ⭐️s. Thank you so much to our wonderful #catherbuddyread

Lcsmcat It was an amazing journey with our beloved Willa, and I think it distilled and clarified some of her ongoing themes. Thanks to everyone who participated and shared unique perspectives. 7mo
Suet624 What a lovely photo of her. 7mo
40 likes2 comments
blurb
Lcsmcat
Collected Stories | Willa Cather
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The papal palace at Avignon reminds me of the cliff dwellings. Hmm. If, like me, you were expecting the surviving fragments you can read them here: https://www.willacather.org/system/files/idxdocs/willa_cather_nr_fall2011_vol_55... There‘s also explication, so if you just want the fragments scroll down to p 3. My reaction to Kates‘ work wasn‘t as violent as Chris Wolak‘s. How about yours? #catherbuddyread

Lcsmcat Having trouble posting comments, so apologies to anyone who got multiple tags. 7mo
Lcsmcat A couple quotes I marked from the essay, if Litsy will behave and let me post them. 🙄 7mo
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Lcsmcat “Against the materialism of the aftercomers alone, the second generation, that lesser breed after the pioneers, was she to remain adamant in lifelong hostility.” We noticed this feeling, but “hostility” seems a bit strong/harsh to me. Thoughts? 7mo
Lcsmcat About Old Beauty Kates said “She [Cather] is no longer at any pains to conceal her disillusion and aversion to most of the life about her.” Yet we saw that the title character might have felt that way, but Cather also drew Chetty as joyfully connected to the new. My 2 cents. (edited) 7mo
Currey @Lcsmcat I think you capture Cather‘s disillusionment exactly. I do not think it was the just the first generation and then all was degradation. Rather there were exceptional people that persevered and were able to flourish spiritually in the new land but many more who were unable to. The subsequent generations also had their rare individuals but the times called for different characteristics. 7mo
Currey @Lcsmcat Cather also appreciated much of what the second generation would bring, the sculptor, the singers, etc. It was the materialism that accompanied the arts that caused her to write with despair 7mo
Lcsmcat @Currey Right! I don‘t think she was hostile to an entire generation. And there were those among the pioneer generation she did not revere, so I felt Kates distorted things a bit. 7mo
Graywacke (Sorry, struggling today. Vaccine.) I found Kate‘s essay equal parts annoying and interesting. He brought up a lot of information and ideas I didn‘t know or hadn‘t had laid out for that way. I really liked his take on The Professor‘s House. But many of his perspectives I found irritating. I would have found a more respectful writer, if I‘m the editor. 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i see a lot to like in those two quotes, and I remember the first one. I think in general she really didn‘t like the post wwi world. 7mo
Graywacke So, this Avignon story. This is Petrarch‘s time. In 1340 he‘s around the corner, in Vaucluse, criticizing Avignon bitterly. As I‘m reading Petrarch now, I kept looking for a reference. Surely she couldn‘t use the date of 1340 without thinking about Petrarch. ?? !! That‘s him as his prime. In 1348 his Laura will die of the plague. Anyway Kate didn‘t go there or touch on it in any way. I wonder what Cather was thinking about P. 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Sorry the vaccine hit you hard! I was intrigued by Kates‘ “arc” if you will, of Cather‘s work, but put off by his certainty that his interpretation was the only one. The source I linked above proposed that Avignon was to be part of a triptych with Archbishop and Shadows on the Rock - a sort of French Catholic theme if you will. I liked that perception. 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Ooh, that‘s a cool connection. Cather was steeped in the classics so I bet you‘re right. 7mo
Currey @Graywacke Given Cather‘s interest in historical transitional times, I suspect that Cather was more interested in the transformation that the world was going through as Philip IV forced his will into the selection process for Popes and pulled the French popes into “Babylon”, than in the stunningly romantic poetry of Petrarch but hey, what do I know.... 7mo
Graywacke @Currey I suspect both, but i may be biased. Had she chose 1320 or 1360 I would agree more. But 1340? It surely seems to make a call that way. P isn‘t just poetry but also the founder of Humanism and definer of the dark ages. (edited) 7mo
Currey @Graywacke What of his should I read other than poetry? Or “stack” as they say on Litsy....I know nothing about this time. I just read Albigenses which takes place in the 13th Century but Maturin wrote it in 1824 so it is infused with the language of Sir Walter Scott. However, I still learned a great deal about “the church”. 7mo
Graywacke @Currey hmm. I think Wikipedia. 😆 I know, not helpful. No, seriously, I‘m reading P‘s poetry now and I‘m not sure I would recommend it. And that‘s his best stuff. You kind of really need to want to read him to read him. However, he‘s fascinating to read about. (edited) 7mo
Currey @Graywacke Ahhh, read about. That I can do! (edited) 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Do you like sonnets in general and don‘t recommend Petrarch‘s, or are you not a sonnet aficionado? Because he was so influential in the form, and I love sonnets, but I haven‘t read Petrarch. Shameful, I know. 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat his are the only i‘ve read. ☺️ I value him but i‘ve not become a huge fan of his obsession with Laura and his own love pains. So it‘s a context issue. And translation issue. I‘m reading 3 translations and each is so different. 7mo
Graywacke *content (not context) 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke The translation can make so much difference, especially in poetry! I think I‘ll try library editions to see which translator I prefer. Whenever I finally get around to P. 😀 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i like Wyatt‘s 🙂 That Wyatt, from Henry Viii era. Also Morris Bishop. Mark Musa is plain. And David Young is just not my taste. Wyatt, of course, is writing his own poem and claiming it‘s a translation. I don‘t know how much of Petrarch he translated (or, his milieu translated). 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Good information. Thanks. 7mo
batsy I like that connection between the cliff dwellings & Avignon—the "enchanted bluffs" that underlie her work. I liked Kates' essay & thought it had some sensitive readings of her texts, like Paul's Case for example. I didn't find him harsh or disrespectful; I mostly agree that his analysis of her overall themes, particularly that aspect of transcendence that her fiction is in search of, in refusal of the profit-driven morass of the changing times. 7mo
Lcsmcat @batsy I didn‘t find Kates disrespectful, but just a little too sure of himself sometimes. He did point out some of the same themes that we have been discussing over the past years. (Has it been years?) 7mo
batsy @Lcsmcat Sorry, I was responding to @Graywacke 's comment there re: a more respectful writer. I understand that Kates being so sure of his position is somewhat annoying, but I think most literary critics tend to stake out their position in that manner (& proceed to argue with other critics 😆) And I guess it has been years? That's pretty amazing. 7mo
Lcsmcat @batsy No need to apologize! I like the back and forth. And he was writing in the 1950s, so I try to cut some slack, but he was a bit patronizing towards her, I thought. Not quite allowing her to be a full complicated human. Which is a pet peeve of mine. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 7mo
Lcsmcat @batsy On the similarity between the palace and the cliff dwellings, it didn‘t hit me until I was hunting online for a photo of the palace. But then it jumped out. I read that when she visited Avignon she was there with the guide and her friend and no one else - crowds of tourists weren‘t around - so it would have seemed as deserted as,Mesa Verde, too. I‘m not sure what to make of that. 7mo
Graywacke @batsy I would roughly say what @Lcsmcat said as an explanation to why I felt it wasn‘t respectful. He writes as a critic of a female writer, not of a writer. (And he oversimplifies. Not enough noticed the dominant pull Europe exerted on her work... ?? That‘s his thesis?) 7mo
Graywacke I‘m thinking two things. First I think Alexander‘s Bridge makes a nice next book. (But I‘m ok with anything). Second, what do we do after Cather? Does this group want to look at another author? Someone outside Litsy praised Edith Wharton to me. I‘ve never read her. Of course similar era, but Wharton was (an embittered?) part of the wealthier class. But it‘s just an idea. https://www.edithwharton.org/discover/published-works/ 7mo
CarolynM Sorry everyone, I completely forgot this weekend 😳😩 I'll try to catch up in the next day or two. As to where to next, I think we need to read Alexander's Bridge for completeness. Also, my ebook Cather collection includes a volume called Not Under Forty, which seems to be essays. Would anyone else be interested in reading that? I am definitely interested in Edith Wharton @Graywacke I've not read her either, but I've long wanted to. 7mo
arubabookwoman I'm also interested in Wharton. Similar era, but I think very different than Cather. I think most of her novels were set in the time contemporary to when she was writing. (No HF). And though she herself was of the wealthy classes, (and many of her books are set in that milieu), many of her novels feature the "lower" classes, as well as those living in genteel poverty. 7mo
Graywacke @arubabookwoman my only worry with Wharton is if we will lose our nature connection and miss it. Cather‘s connection to the landscape was very special and a very attractive aspect of her writing. Wharton sounds very society. But perhaps so were most novels from Austen to Woolf (i‘ve read very little of all that, so...just kind blindly saying that without having any idea if it‘s true.) 7mo
Graywacke @CarolynM I‘m interested in Not Under 40. Of course I was born around 80 years too late to fit that “not” in the title. 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @CarolynM @arubabookwoman If we want to keep the Cather nature/setting strength, perhaps Jane Smiley or Ivan Doig would be worth exploring. I‘m up for Wharton too, but she is much more about society and its hierarchy than natural settings. 7mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM @Graywacke I‘m curious about Not Under Forty too. 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat you remind me you brought up that I should read Eudora Welty. Just tossing that name out there. Or Virginia Woolf - all I have read is A Room of One‘s Own. 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Both excellent choices also. We could keep this going for years. 😀 7mo
arubabookwoman @Graywacke @Lcsmcat You are right. In my memory of Wharton her novels are not about nature, landscape, setting. I didn't realize that was what the object was. I guess I was thinking early 20th century novelists, female. I know Wharton's considered "society" but I think she focuses much more on individuals rather than society. I've never read Doig, and will admit I don't get on with V.Woolf (but maybe I need to revisit now that I'm older). ???? (edited) 7mo
arubabookwoman I like Welty, but her focus is entirely Southern. She does remind me a bit of Faulkner, who I love, but a bit easier to read. And I like what I've read of Smiley, but I'm not sure I'd put her in the same "classic" category as the other authors mentioned. 7mo
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman As far as I‘m concerned the object is to read good books and talk about them. I‘m open to any era, any author, as long as they are well-written works. 7mo
Graywacke @arubabookwoman like @Lcsmcat said, just good books. I only brought up nature in case it that aspect was that specifically interested anyone. Wharton sounds like a best choice so far - for us 4 anyway. I‘m really interested in learning about her and reading her work. (edited) 7mo
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Lcsmcat
Collected Stories | Willa Cather
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Enchanted Bluff and Tom Outland‘s Story. Both concerned with cliff dwellers and the white man‘s reaction to them. Tom is a reread for those who have been with us from the beginning, but in rereading our comments about it from The Professor‘s House I found we didn‘t focus on Tom, so maybe some new perspectives here. As always @chris.wolak gave us lots to think about in her blog posts. Like the double meaning of “bluff” in the first story.

Lcsmcat #catherbuddyread Also the nonfiction Cather wrote about Mesa Verde here: https://cather.unl.edu/writings/nonfiction/nf057 (edited) 8mo
Lcsmcat Both these stories struck me as being more about the past being better than the present than about one culture being better than another. I‘ve got two quotes from Tom that I want to throw out there for discussion that we didn‘t focus on last time. 8mo
Lcsmcat “He was the sort of fellow who can do anything for somebody else, and nothing for himself. There are lots like that among working-men. They aren‘t trained by success to a sort of systematic selfishness.” 8mo
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Lcsmcat “Rodney explained that he knew I cared about the things, and was proud of them, but he‘d always supposed I meant to ‘realize‘ on them, just as he did, and that it would come to money in the end. ‘Everything does,‘ he added.” 8mo
Suet624 @Lcsmcat What a quote about the working man who does things for others! I know both types of people. (edited) 8mo
Currey @Lcsmcat I did think when I read the second quote while reading the story that it was very human to believe that others understand your motives and intuit your desires without your having to express them. The failure here is not that Rodney sold off his findings but that he did not deeply understand Tom‘s needs. 8mo
Graywacke I was surprised how much I enjoyed re-reading the Tom Outland. The end obscured everything for me. I had forgotten how well she fleshed out the beginning - the gambling, Rodney‘s personality, the cow herding on the grassland - the town armpit vs the natural purity and its impact on Tom‘s mentality. 8mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat you‘re sharp to pick up her golden age themes. Everything was better in 1890 than in these money focused times. Very subtle here - i hadn‘t fully noticed - but yeah, it‘s there. I love those quotes, especially the 1st sentence in the first one. - it‘s a nice sentiment, but also it works so well in the meter, so to speak. It all comes down to one word, and needing the context. (edited) 8mo
Graywacke @Currey i was thinking how in the whole story of personal refreshment, we assume Tom was speaking for everyone. But it turns out we readers were wrong (or, at least this one was). Tom was only speaking for himself. Rodney was just working. That hit me. 8mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat “the houses of the Pueblo Indians to-day and of their ancestors on the Mesa Verde are a reproach to the messiness in which we live.” From the essay. Thanks for linking. 8mo
Graywacke On TEB - I liked Arthur Adams. “When I had talked with him for an hour and heard him laugh again, I wondered how it was that when nature had taken such pains with a man, from his hands to the arch of his long foot, she had ever lost him in Sandtown” 8mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Such a great quote about Adams! 8mo
Lcsmcat @Currey We all know this intellectually, which is why it resonates. And yet it‘s so difficult for us to act this way! I had so much more sympathy for Rodney this time around. And, like Tom. I want to know what happened to him! 8mo
Currey @Graywacke Good point about the assumption that Tom was speaking for everyone. Rodney was not even just working, he thought he was working for a common goal. 8mo
Currey @Graywacke @Lcsmcat Yes, really great quote on Adams. So visual and cerebral at the same time 8mo
batsy @Graywacke I was just going to come here to post that quote about Adams. There is a kind of underlying heartache in Cather's stories about these unique and sensitive characters lost to the circumstances of their time or the place they can't escape from. 7mo
Lcsmcat @batsy Do you think that‘s why the “time jump” at the end works? Because it increases the pathos? And do you think it was all a “bluff” or did the boys, as they grew to men, think that someday they would make it to the bluff? 7mo
Lcsmcat BTW, if you haven‘t been to Mesa Verde, add it to your bucket list! We took the kids there about 15 years ago and it was so much more than you get from a photo. Breathtaking! 7mo
Graywacke @batsy yes, heartache. He‘s beautiful and also lost. 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i want to say something on the “time jump”. The bluff is essentially a fantasy (a life bluff, as Chris sort a noted) because they will never get there. It maybe represents child‘s fantasy about their future life. And so, maybe, by jumping ahead and removing the magic, exposing the bland futures they actually have, she exposes the gap between the fantasy and reality, childhood optimism and adult reality. Maybe not, also. 7mo
batsy @Lcsmcat That time jump is something Cather uses to emphasise pathos & I do like the yearning wistfulness of it; there's always the sense of the search for something transcendental. I feel like the narrator & Tip are still the romantics in that sense. I'd like to think they (and little Bert) are still attempting to get to the bluff. And it's telling that the boys who might not be as keen still are the ones who ventured into finance & business. 7mo
batsy @Lcsmcat Though I just might be reading into it a bit too much there :) 7mo
Lcsmcat @batsy @Graywacke Good points, both of you, on the time jump. Cather does both romanticize childhood and denigrate (too strong a word, but I can‘t think of another right now) the business/banking world. Wistful is a great word to describe that story. 7mo
Graywacke @batsy interesting comment, all of it. It is telling. @Lcsmcat romanticize childhood? Seems obvious now that you said it. But I hadn‘t picked up in that before. (Sorry for the 9 hr later response. Travel day 😕) 7mo
CarolynM I thought TEB was a really lovely story. @Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat Picking up your points about yearning and romanticising childhood, it made me think that maybe Cather's nostalgia is as much for lost youth as for past times. How you see the world, what seems important to you, what seems possible are all so different at different stages of life. A lot of her work examines that gap between childhood and the mature person. (edited) 7mo
batsy @CarolynM Nicely said and I agree. That's maybe why her artist characters continue to struggle with the world; the qualities of being a child (openness, wonder, possibility) that they need to cultivate stand in (increasing) contrast to the age of industrialisation and finance. 7mo
CarolynM @batsy Thank you. I hadn't thought to take it that step further, but I think you're right. 7mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM @batsy That‘s a great insight. Her artists are driven, but they are also child-like in the ways you mention. We all commented on the yearning for lost youth when we read The Professor‘s House, but I can see it in other works now too. Niel in Lost Lady missed more his impression of Mrs. F than who she actually was; Jim in Antonia; Cecile in Shadows on the Rock. They all had a yearning for the past quality. 7mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM @batsy @Graywacke The Cather archives has images of TEB in its original publication here https://cather.unl.edu/writings/shortfiction/ss001 I don‘t know how much control, if any, Cather had over the illustrations, but they‘re VERY nostalgic. 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat hi. In case you missed them, check your email for my last one. 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke 👍🏻 7mo
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