Influence of French Culture on Willa Cather

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This is the first full-length study to address the complex issues involved in Cather’s relationship to France and to the many French writers (Zola, Flaubert, Sand, France, Mérimée, Loti, etc.) that keep cropping up in her literary and journalistic output. The author traces the intellectual and artistic roots that nourished Cather’s writing and examines the dynamic relationship between American and French literatures.


“Willa Cather had a life-long love affair with France. From her student days at the University of Nebraska, where she took courses in French, to 1947 when she died leaving an unfinished novel laid in Avignon, she was intensely absorbed by things French: the culture, the literature, the language, the art, the cuisine. Often the French influence on her work is clear to any discerning reader, but more often it is subtle and evasive. Stéphanie Durrans’s study is a significant contribution to Cather studies. It goes well beyond the only other attempt to link Cather’s oeuvre to France.” – Professor James Woodress, University of California, Davis

“In The Influence of French Culture on Willa Cather: Intertextual References and Resonances, Cather specialist and French critic Stéphanie Durrans reads Cather through the lens of her wide-ranging and perceptive knowledge of French literature, producing an insightful intertextual analysis of the relationship between Cather’s work and that of a number of important French writers.” – Dr. Ann Moseley, William L. Mayo Professor, Texas A&M University-Commerce

“Stéphanie Durrans’s The Influence of French Culture on Willa Cather: Intertextual References and Resonances ... will be one of the cornerstones of future Cather studies.” – Dr. Charles A. Peek, President, Board of Governors, The Cather Foundation

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Foreword by James Woodress
1 Romantic Landscapes: Reclaiming the Wilderness
2 Inner Realms of Adventure: Willa Cather’s Search for a Voice of Her Own
3 Willa Cather’s Pastoral Symphony: From O Pioneers! to My Ántonia
4 Searching for New Models of Femininity in the Modern World
5 “The Road Is All”: Willa Cather’s Representation of History
6 The Era of Suspicion: Desire, Art and Religion
7 “The Thing Not Named”: Willa Cather’s Use of the French Language

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