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Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa…

Death Comes for the Archbishop (original 1927; edition 1990)

by Willa Cather

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3,856961,340 (4.02)2 / 639
Title:Death Comes for the Archbishop
Authors:Willa Cather
Info:Vintage Books (1990), Edition: First Edition., Paperback
Collections:To read

Work details

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (1927)

  1. 00
    The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich (noveltea)
  2. 01
    Lamy of Santa Fe by Paul Horgan (inge87)
    inge87: Biography of the real-life Jean Marie Latour — Archbishop Lamy

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English (94)  Spanish (2)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
I love the easy prose of Willa Cather. This book is set in America's Southwestern Desert in the 1850s. ( )
  FoxTribeMama | Sep 21, 2016 |
One to savour
By sally tarbox on 18 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
Beautifully written account of two French missionaries sent out to 1850s New Mexico. Based on actual priests, we follow Bishop Latour and his friend Father Vaillant as they enter a hostile environment - drought, lax and corrupt Catholic clergy, mysterious Indian religions, and the vast distances that make up their 'great diocese'.
Ever travelling and only meeting up on occasions, the two nonetheless rely on one another: one of the most touching parts is when Father Vaillant is setting off to the distant Colorado goldfields and his bishop tells him he should take both their mules.
' "They have a great affection for each other; why separate them indefinitely? One could not explain to them. They have worked long together."
Father Vaillant made no reply. He stood looking intently at the pages of his letter. The Bishop saw a drop of water splash down upon the violet script and spread.'

Cather's narrative is brought to life by poetic descriptions of the desert landscape, and moments of the priests' recollections of their former lives in the Auvergne. It's not a novel as such but is one to savour. ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
Good read about the area I'm working in this summer. The book did seem pointless at times, but such are the vagaries of religion.... ( )
  untraveller | Jul 5, 2016 |
Who knew I’d be traveling in a book the same places I was traveling in real life when I picked up Death Comes for the Archbishop? It was the perfect book to read while I was in New Mexico, the perfect book for this new Catholic.

The plot centers on two French priests who come to work in New Mexico in the 1850’s, but the real story is the story of the peoples of New Mexico. Willa Cather finds a way to include the stories of the appearance of Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico and the murder of a cruel Spanish priest as well as speculations about God and religion and the Native Americans of New Mexico in this wonderful little book. ( )
  debnance | Jun 27, 2016 |
Death Comes for the Archbishop – Cather

3 stars
I’d read Oh, Pioneers and My Antonia some years ago. I remember enjoying both books for the details of the settings and the underlying complexity of the characters. Although I found the same quality of writing in Death Comes for the Archbishop, the story didn’t capture my attention.

The story is concerned with two priests who travel to the newly created United States territory of New Mexico to take charge of the diocese. Their territory is vast and primitive. Travel is dangerous and agonizingly slow. The existing Spanish-Mexican clergy are depicted as greedy and corrupt. The native populations are described in a sympathetic, but paternalistic manner. The story is told as a series of vignettes as the priests encounter various individuals throughout the immense territory.

There was nothing terribly wrong with any of the stories, but there was nothing especially compelling either. I never felt compelled to pick the book back up after I’d set it down.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Each event in this book is concrete, yet symbolic, and opens into living myth. The reader is invited to contemplate the question: What is a life well lived? This question is asked in a story so fine it brings the old words “wisdom” and “beauty” to life again.

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Willa Catherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Byatt, A. S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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One summer evening in the year 1848, three Cardinals and a missionary Bishop from America were dining together in the gardens of a villa in the Sabine hills, overlooking Rome.
But in reality the Bishop was not there at all [on his sickbed, in his wandering imagination]; he was standing in a tip-tilted green field among his native mountains, and he was trying to give consolation to a young man who was being torn in two before his eyes by the desire to go and the necessity to stay. He was trying to forge a new Will in that devout and exhausted priest; and the time was short, for the diligence for Paris was already rumbling down the mountain gorge.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
One summer evening in the year of 1848 three Cardinals and a missionary, dining in a villa near Rome, decide the fate of a simple parish priest, the Frenchman Jean Marie Latour. He is to go to New Mexico to win for Catholicism the South-West of America, a country where the Faith has slumbered for centuries. There, together with his old friend Father Vaillant, Latour makes his home. To the carnelian hills and ochre-yellow deserts of this almost pagan land he brings the refined traditions of French culture and Christian belief. Slowly, gently he reforms and revivifies, after forty years of love and service achieving a final reconciliation between his faith and the sensual peasant people of New Mexico: a harmony embodied in the realisation of his most cherished dream - a Romanesque cathedral, carved from the Mexican rock, gold as sunlight.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679728899, Paperback)

Willa Cather's best known novel; a narrative that recounts a life lived simply in the silence of the southwestern desert.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:41 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The story of a French priest who goes to New Mexico and with another priest win the southwest for the Catholic Church. After forty years, he dies--the archbishop of Santa Fe.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

Legacy Library: Willa Cather

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