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My Antonia by Willa Sibert Cather

My Antonia (original 1918; edition 1954)

by Willa Sibert Cather

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8,571182356 (3.93)685
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 Antonia by Willa Cather (1918)


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English (180)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (182)
Showing 1-5 of 180 (next | show all)
Apparently I should never live on the prairie, because it is so mind numbingly boring I think I'd sprout cobwebs in my brain. ( )
  locriian | Oct 27, 2014 |
Nebraska pioneer life through the eyes of a young boy Jim. He recalls his boyhood love, Antonia, who becomes the strong pioneer woman rich in family, land, livestock and a sense of peace. ( )
  nanaval | Oct 10, 2014 |
My Antonia, written by Willa Cather, is the final novel in what has been called the Prairie Trilogy. It is story of Antonia Shimerda, told (years later) by one of her friends from childhood, Jim Burden, an orphaned boy from Virginia. Though he leaves the prairie, Jim never forgets the Bohemian girl who profoundly influenced his life (though I believes that he realizes this through the writing of the story). Set mainly in Nebraska, Jim focuses his story on the Shimerdas, an immigrant family whose daughter Antonia becomes one of his most dear childhood friends. Structured into five sections, the novel follows both Antonia and Jim from childhood through adulthood and the events that have shaped their lives. Antonia survives her father’s suicide, hires herself out as household help, is abandoned at the altar, gives birth out of wedlock, but eventually achieves fulfillment in life and in the land. Jim, a successful East-coast lawyer, remains romantic, nostalgic, and but ultimately unfulfilled in life. This novel is everything you would expect from a Cather novel, straightforward prose, beautiful descriptions of the vastness of landscape and life on the plains and complex engaging characters. 4 ½ out of 5 stars. ( )
  marsap | Oct 7, 2014 |
Another great book from Willa Cather. Though I like O Pioneers more, My Antonia was really interesting because of the narrator and the informal way it was written, with a strange approach to the sequence of events because it is simply one man recalling every encounter he had with Antonia. The ending really sealed the book for me, because - due to the disattachment between events - it brought everything together and gave it all a purpose.

The other thing I noticed while reading this book - I realize it's the same in O Pioneers - Cather is really great at creating peripheral characters. It is really lifelike, in that there are people who are our friends and family, and then there are the people we know, and the others we are just acquainted with. Yet each of these peripheral acquaintances is a real character in her narrative - there are no flat characters. It makes it more believable, as everyone is real, and no one is stereotypical. ( )
1 vote GraceZ | Sep 6, 2014 |
One of the greatest impacts in my life was Willa Cather. I grew up near where she lived, and my grandmother not only grew up nearer to her, but in the course of my life with her, she told me what my great-grandmother Ada Hall knew of her. Ada knew her family, and because of this, I loved her dearly. She was, in my world, living and breathing beside me because of that slight association with family. Her style of writing is above and beyond any sort of Victorian embellishment, as you will find in the literature of Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskill. She was just about as direct as one person could be at that time, and I always loved her for it. If given a choice of "classic" authors, I'll take Cather over Austen. As far as the story itself goes, it's clear to see that this was one of her best works. I could identify with all of the characters in some form or another. I was either friends with the characteristics, married to them, or they were part of that side of my family. I think you'll see parts of your life as you read her, too. She told the story of life in Nebraska at the turn of the 20th Century, and she did it well. ( )
  mreed61 | Aug 10, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Willa Catherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benda, W. T.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:47 -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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