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The Catherian Cathedral: Gothic Cathedral Iconography in Willa Cather's Fiction (The Fairleigh Dickinson University Press Series on Willa Cather)

Christine E. Kephart

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ISBN 10: 1611470161 / ISBN 13: 9781611470161
Published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2011
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Title: The Catherian Cathedral: Gothic Cathedral ...

Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

Publication Date: 2011

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

About this title


The Catherian Cathedral: Gothic Cathedral Iconography in Willa Cather's Fiction traces the development of a Gothic cathedral iconography in the fiction of Willa Cather and posits that Cather finds in the Gothic cathedral image a metaphor for the writing process and the novel. It explores and analyzes Cather's incorporation of major elements of Gothic cathedral design in her work, in characterization, light imagery and novel structure, and links Cather's traditional cathedral images with her images of mountains and mesas. Kephart engages in conversation with other critics on Cather, the cathedral, and religious thought. She also shows the influence of both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Adams on Cather's development of the iconography, as well as Cather's associative linking of the landscape of the American Southwest with that of the south and south-central regions of France.

For some time, Cather scholarship has focused on Cather's use of medieval images, including the image of the cathedral. The Catherian Cathedral builds on earlier research in its aim to further explore and apprehend fully the persistence of the cathedral image in Cather's work. Along with analyzing the influence of Emerson and Adams on Cather's process, this book traces Cather's building of the cathedral in her fiction and follows Cather's architectural eye as it surveys the cathedral form in the natural and human-made architecture of France and the American Southwest. Kephart thus fills in some major gaps in Cather's use of the cathedral metaphor throughout her writing life. The resulting work suggests that, to paraphrase Sarah Orne Jewett, the cathedral was indeed one of those images that "teased" Cather and got itself written down.

About the Author:

Christine E. Kephart received her Ph.D. in English at Drew University where she worked with Merrill Maguire Skaggs, one of the preeminent scholars in Cather studies, to begin developing her own critical work in Cather research. She currently works in higher education and lives in New Jersey with her husband. She and her husband are also musicians, they play together when they can.

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