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My Antonia by Willa Sibert Cather

My Antonia (original 1918; edition 1954)

by Willa Sibert Cather

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9,640221299 (3.93)820
Title:My Antonia
Authors:Willa Sibert Cather
Info:Houghton Mifflin (1954), Edition: 1st Houghton Mifflin Sentry, Paperback, 382 pages
Collections:Your library

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My Ántonia by Willa Cather (1918)

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English (217)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Piratical (1)  Spanish (1)  All (221)
Showing 1-5 of 217 (next | show all)
The final installment in Willa Cather's "Prairie Trilogy", MY ANTONIA is the reminiscence of a young man, Jim Burden, and his coming-of-age in early 1900's Nebraska. He comes to live in Black Hawk, Nebraska with his grandparents, after being orphaned in his native Virginia. A Bohemian family departs the train with him, the Shimerdas, and they become the Burden's closest neighbors. Jim forms a friendship with one of the Shimerdas daughters, Antonia, teaching her English and exploring the Midwestern prairie with her. There are occasions when the friendship between the Burdens and the Shimerdas is strained, because of cultural misunderstandings, disputes over farming, money, religion, and other matters. However, years intervene, and the families rely on each other for survival and comfort.

As they grow into adulthood, Jim and Antonia begin down different paths - Jim goes to college and becomes a lawyer in New York City. Antonia works as a housekeeper, meets a man who leaves her pregnant at the alter, and eventually finds happiness in marriage and a large family with another Bohemian immigrant named Anton.

While this story is one of survival, family, and coming of age, one of the most compelling aspects of MY ANTONIA is the depiction of prairie life after the turn-of-the-century. It's an area of the country that receives little attention now, and is so beautifully and dramatically portrayed in this novel. It's the sweeping prose, the character development, and the depiction of life that makes this book such a classic. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote BooksForYears | Jun 12, 2017 |
This novel reads like Laura Ingalls Wilder for grown-ups, mixing childhood nostalgia with scratching up a living in the early prairie years. It was all work at the time, but it came with its own rewards and encouraged friendliness among neighbours who needed to look out for one another when lacking most social services. It's also a good view into the immigrant experience, reminding all of us with European stock that we originally came from somewhere else and it's only a question of how far back. The novel is semi-autobiographical, featuring descriptions of the land filled with grace and style and drawn from Willa Cather's childhood memories. It was clearly a place she loved. It's a quiet novel plot-wise, but it goes a long way to extolling the virtues of unglamorous everyday lives. I've more than one LT member to thank for bringing this book to my attention. Filed among the comfort reads. ( )
  Cecrow | Apr 24, 2017 |
This was simply a beautiful book to read. Willa Cather's tale of a young daughter of Bohemian immigrants on the Nebraska frontier is a delight from beginning to end. Antonia Shimerda's life is narrated by her friend Jim Burden. The story of her growth, travails and eventual success in becoming one with the land is one of the great frontier stories of America. Willa Cather captures the spirit of the land with wonderful descriptions of the landscape and life on the frontier; and its people by capturing of the emotions of the characters. It is similar in this aspect to Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth which I first read about the same time. Cather traversed this county in several of her books including this novel which is her masterpiece. ( )
  jwhenderson | Mar 19, 2017 |
Supposedly a portrait of the Bohemian immigrant woman, Antonia, the story is told from the perspective of Jim Burden, who moves west to Nebraska on the same day and becomes her friend. This makes the story a little odd because the reader only gets glimpses of Antonia's life on the prairie while also following Jim's life. ( )
  Pferdina | Feb 22, 2017 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
  Contusions | Dec 23, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (36 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
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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.
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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.
Haiku summary

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)

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A New York lawyer remembers his boyhood in Nebraska and his friendship with a pioneer Bohemian girl.

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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

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