One of Ours: Willa Cather's Pulitzer Prize Winner (Timeless Classic Books)

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9781456378073: One of Ours: Willa Cather's Pulitzer Prize Winner (Timeless Classic Books)
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One of Ours tells the story of a Nebraska farm boy who struggles to find meaning in his life. It is the story of a young man born after the American frontier has vanished, yet whose quintessentially American restlessness seeks redemption on a frontier far bloodier and more distant than that which his forefathers had already tamed. Before the war, Claude comes close to finding value in the world when his parents allow him to attend the University of Nebraska. Living in Lincoln he befriends the Ehrlich family, who expose him to a life of art, ideas, and culture. Later, when forced to return to his father's farm, Claude seeks to find meaning in the form of human companionship. His attempt to find individual affirmation in the form of marriage fails, however, and the loneliness Claude encounters from his unaffectionate wife Enid compels him to volunteer in the overseas conflict. Claude's violent death on the battlefield - portrayed as sacrificial and glorious by Cather in the mind of Claude's mother - appealed to millions of Americans and probably played a role in the decision to award Cather the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours a year after it was published in 1922.

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About the Author:

Willa Sibert Cather (1873 –1947) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author who achieved recognition for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains, works such as O Pioneers!, My Ántonia, and The Song of the Lark. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer for One of Ours (1922), a novel set during World War I. Cather grew up in Nebraska and graduated from the state university; she lived in New York for most of her adult life and writing career. In 1896, Cather moved to Pittsburgh after being hired to write for The Home Monthly. She lived in Pittsburgh until 1906.[4] In Pittsburgh, she taught English first at Central High School for one year and then at Allegheny High School, where she also taught Latin and became the head of the English department. She also worked as a telegraph editor and drama critic for the Pittsburgh Leader and frequently contributed to The Library, another local publication. She moved to New York City in 1906 upon receiving a job offer on the editorial staff from McClure's Magazine. Cather and Georgina M. Wells were co-authors of a critical biography of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. It was serialized in McClure's in 1907-8 and published the next year as a book. Christian Scientists were outraged and tried to buy up every copy. McClure's serialized Cather's first novel, Alexander's Bridge (1912). The work showed her admiration for the style of Henry James. While recognizing her potential, the author Sarah Orne Jewett advised Cather to rely less on James and more on her own experiences in Nebraska. Cather left McClure's in 1912 and began to write full time. Cather returned to the prairie as a setting for inspiration for most of her novels; she also used experiences from her travels in France. Such deeply felt works became both popular and critical successes. Cather was celebrated by national critics such as H.L. Mencken for writing in plainspoken language about ordinary people. When the novelist Sinclair Lewis won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1930, he paid homage to Cather by declaring that she should have won the honor.

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