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My Ántonia by Willa Cather

My Ántonia (1918)

by Willa Cather

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Prairie Trilogy (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,378232393 (3.91)844
  1. 122
    O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (HollyMS)
  2. 21
    Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (allenmichie)
  3. 21
    The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig (DeltaQueen50)
  4. 10
    World's Fair by E. L. Doctorow (k8_not_kate)
    k8_not_kate: Recalls a specific time in America vividly; deals with childhood memories and relationships.
  5. 11
    Grain by Robert Stead (thesmellofbooks)
    thesmellofbooks: Another important look at the lives and setting of the people who farmed the prairies. A gentle, beautiful read from the perspective of an introverted and simple man.
  6. 44
    The Awakening by Kate Chopin (chrisharpe)
  7. 11
    Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell (lahni)
  8. 01
    The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains by Owen Wister (BonnieJune54)
  9. 12
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (chrisharpe)
  10. 01
    The Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates (christiguc)
  11. 02
    Little Century by Anna Keesey (TomWaitsTables)
  12. 25
    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (chrisharpe)
1910s (25)
Elevenses (225)

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English (226)  German (2)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (231)
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
Similar to Little House on the Prairie but intended for adults, I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this. I will admit I didn't read the first two books in the Great Plains trilogy, but that didn't stop me from enjoying this book and I thought it read well as a stand alone. My Antonia is am old mans recollection of a girl from his youth. For some reason he never could get Antonia out of his mind and his childhood was drastically shaped by her. Antonia was an immigrant girl several years his junior who moved to the plains the same time he did. He taught her to read and speak English and she taught him what to value in a girl. Their story gets a little more complicated as he ages and even goes through some rough patches but they always respected each other even when they moved apart and led vastly different lives. The ending though... not quite what I anticipated. Also, I'm still unsure if I liked the narrator, I have a lot of feelings about this book and I need to discuss it with my book club to suss it out ;) ( )
  ecataldi | Sep 4, 2018 |
Reached back for a classic i had never read. A beautifully written book, with powerful descriptions of places, people and memories. An old-fashioned good read! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Enjoyable enough for a free book. ( )
  CSKteach | Jul 20, 2018 |
Having never read any of Willa Cather’s books in my teenage years – Cather was not required reading in the Canadian school system during my days – it is only recently that I have come to experience, and appreciate, her wonderful stories and the sparse, clear quality of her writing. I have a love for stories that depict the harsh realities of 19th century (and early 20th century) prairie life. While told from the point of view of Jim, the story is very much a pastoral expression about forging friendships and strong women. While some novels of this nature tend to merely communicate a place and time – like a picture - Cather’s story is a sentimental story, a wistful longing to revisit fond memories. How can one have fond memories of a harsh prairie winter, of the wretched scrabble for survival for newly immigrated families and confining feeling of certain social strictures? For Cather, even those harsh realities cannot hold back the beauty that can reside in an individual filled with kindness, optimism, strength, determination, and the full potential of life. Some may feel that Cather has not adequately focused on those harsh realities, but to expect that would be to miss what I believe to be the point of Cather’s story: to give readers a story of courage and endurance set against the expansive prairie sky. ( )
  lkernagh | Jun 30, 2018 |
At its heart, My Antonia is an immigrant novel, but not the kind of immigrant novel you would find written today. Jim's Antonia certainly epitomizes the immigrant dream. Seen through Jim's perspective only, that dream is romanticized tremendously. The dream of making a home in a new country, of starting over from scratch, of finding a modicum of success. If not for yourself, then for your children. It is a novel that also pays homage to the beauty of the Nebraskan prairie.

My family is Pennsylvania Dutch, and my ancestors got their start in America back in the late 1700s and early 1800s as immigrant farmers in rural Pennsylvania. While reading My Antonia, I couldn't help but make comparisons to my own ancestors - whom I know very little about - but who I have always imagined to homestead and farm in much the same way as the characters in this book. ( )
  abergsman | Mar 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Willa Catherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Benda, W. T.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Byatt, A.S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colacci, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norris, KathleenForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tapper, GordonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Optima dies . . . prima fugit
To Carrie and Irene Miner in memory of affections old and true.
First words
I first heard of Ántonia on what seemed to me an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America. I was ten years old then; I had lost both my father and mother within a year, and my Virginia relatives were sending me out to my grandparents, who lived in Nebraska. I traveled in the care of a mountain boy, Jake Marpole, one of the “hands” on my father’s old farm under the Blue Ridge, who was now going West to work for my grandfather. Jake’s experience of the world was not much wider than mine. He had never been in a railway train until the morning when we set out together to try our fortunes in a new world.
"When a writer begins to work with his own material," said Willa Cather, in a retrospective preface to her first novel, Alexander's Bridge, "he has less and less choice about the moulding of it. (Preface)
He placed this book in my grandmother's hands, looked at her entreatingly, and said, with an earnestness which I shall never forget, "Te-e-ach, te-e-ach my Ántonia!"
Because he talked so little, his words had a peculiar force; they were not worn dull from constant use.
Lena was Pussy so often that she finally said she wouldn't play any more.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
My Ántonia chronicles the life of Ántonia, a Bohemian immigrant woman, as seen through the eyes of Jim, the man unable to forget her. Jim, now a successful New York lawyer, recollects his upbringing on a Nebraska farm. Even after 20 years, Ántonia continues to live a romantic life in his imagination. When he returns to Nebraska, he finds Ántonia has lived a battered life. Although the man to whom she dedicated her life abandons her, she remains strong and full of courage.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 039575514X, Paperback)

It seems almost sacrilege to infringe upon a book as soulful and rich as Willa Cather's My Ántonia by offering comment. First published in 1918, and set in Nebraska in the late 19th century, this tale of the spirited daughter of a Bohemian immigrant family planning to farm on the untamed land ("not a country at all but the material out of which countries are made") comes to us through the romantic eyes of Jim Burden. He is, at the time of their meeting, newly orphaned and arriving at his grandparents' neighboring farm on the same night her family strikes out to make good in their new country. Jim chooses the opening words of his recollections deliberately: "I first heard of Ántonia on what seemed to be an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America," and it seems almost certain that readers of Cather's masterpiece will just as easily pinpoint the first time they heard of Ántonia and her world. It seems equally certain that they, too, will remember that moment as one of great light in an otherwise unremarkable trip through the world.

Ántonia, who, even as a grown woman somewhat downtrodden by circumstance and hard work, "had not lost the fire of life," lies at the center of almost every human condition that Cather's novel effortlessly untangles. She represents immigrant struggles with a foreign land and tongue, the restraints on women of the time (with which Cather was very much concerned), the more general desires for love, family, and companionship, and the great capacity for forbearance that marked the earliest settlers on the frontier.

As if all this humanity weren't enough, Cather paints her descriptions of the vastness of nature--the high, red grass, the road that "ran about like a wild thing," the endless wind on the plains--with strokes so vivid as to make us feel in our bones that we've just come in from a walk on that very terrain ourselves. As the story progresses, Jim goes off to the University in Lincoln to study Latin (later moving on to Harvard and eventually staying put on the East Coast in another neat encompassing of a stage in America's development) and learns Virgil's phrase "Optima dies ... prima fugit" that Cather uses as the novel's epigraph. "The best days are the first to flee"--this could be said equally of childhood and the earliest hours of this country in which the open land, much like My Ántonia, was nothing short of a rhapsody in prairie sky blue. --Melanie Rehak

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:51 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A New York lawyer remembers his boyhood in Nebraska and his friendship with a pioneer Bohemian girl. A novel set in Nebraska about pioneering Bohemian farmers & of the courageous heroine, Antonia. First published in 1918. In Willa Cather's own estimation, My Antonia, first published in 1918, was "the best thing I've ever done." An enduring paperback bestseller on Houghton Mifflin's literary list, this hauntingly eloquent classic now boasts a new foreword by Kathleen Norris, Cather's soulmate of the plains. Infused with a gracious passion for the land, My Antonia embraces its uncommon subject - the hardscrabble life of the pioneer woman on the prairie - with poetic certitude, rendering a deeply moving portrait of an entire community. Through Jim Burden's endearing, smitten voice, we revisit the remarkable vicissitudes of immigrant life in the Nebraska heartland with all its insistent bonds. Guiding the way are some of literature's most beguiling characters: the Russian brothers plagued by memories of a fateful sleigh ride, Antonia's desperately homesick father and self-indulgent mother, and the coy Lena Lingard. Holding the pastoral society's heart, of course, is the bewitching, free-spirited Antonia Shimerda.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400100747, 1400108454

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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