Youth and the Bright Medusa by Willa Sibert Cather

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In 1920 Willa Cather collected eight of the stories she had written over the past twenty years into Youth and the Bright Medusa, stories of the perilous pursuit of the bright medusa of art in a hostile, materialistic world. These include some of her best tales: “Coming, Aphrodite!” focuses on a dedicated painter and his affair with a singer in pursuit of celebrity; “Paul’s Case” and “A Wagner Matinée” tell of a young man and an old woman with artistic longings crushed by their environments; “The Sculptor’s Funeral” and “The Diamond Mine” show the high costs of success.
The historical essay and explanatory notes trace the composition of the stories and their roots in the people, events, and places Cather knew, from her family to world-famous sopranos, from Nebraska and Wyoming to New York and Pittsburgh, with new information on the sources for “Paul’s Case.” Historical photographs, including a hitherto unknown portrait of the prototype for Paul, show people and places as Cather knew them. The textual essay and apparatus explore the versions that appeared in her lifetime, from first magazine publication to the final collected edition of her works—and describe how the magazine version of “Coming, Aphrodite!” was censored by the editors, even to the title.

About Willa Sibert Cather

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Willa Cather’s work was profoundly influenced by her upbringing in rural Nebraska. During her young adulthood Cather proved herself intelligent and capable, initially training for a career as a medical doctor, but discovered a love of, and talent for, writing while attending the University of Nebraska. Following graduation, Cather worked as a journalist for several women’s magazines before becoming a high school teacher; an opportunity work as an editor at McClure’s provided Cather with her first chance to publish as the magazine serialized her first novel, Alexander’s Bridge, to critical acclaim. This was soon followed by works that have since become best-loved American classics, including My ntonia, The Song of the Lark, and her Pulitzer-Prize winner, One of Ours. Cather died in 1947 at the age of 73.
Published May 17, 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf. 166 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, History, Comics & Graphic Novels. Non-fiction

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