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Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)

by Willa Cather

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,7121411,662 (3.98)2 / 775
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.
  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
  3. 01
    The Professor's House by Willa Cather (shaunie)
    shaunie: If you enjoy Cather's wonderful writing this is just as well written and has a much more enthralling story.

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» See also 775 mentions

English (139)  Spanish (2)  All languages (141)
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
her masterpiece
  SrMaryLea | Aug 22, 2023 |
Racist and boring. Hard pass. ( )
  PaperbackPirate | Aug 19, 2023 |
Another one I remember reading some years ago, without now recalling its details. ( )
  mykl-s | Apr 12, 2023 |
A good priest and more than that – a good man - Father Jean Marie Latour leaves his life in Italy forever to take up priesthood in the New World in Ohio. He finds it ugly and depressing and in 1851 is happy to become the apostolic vicar in the new territory of New Mexico.

New Mexico has recently been ceded to the Americans, but most of the inhabitants are Mexican or Native including the warlike Navajos and Apaches. Even in the 1800's it's already an old land with hundreds of years of church history. And it’s very empty – bare red rock, immense deserts to be covered on muleback and small settlements barely worthy of being called towns.

The Father is a gentle, humble and respectful man, quietly living his faith. As the nearly forty years of his career pass, his reputation and respect grow until he becomes an Archbishop.

This novel is as humbly quiet, deep and good as Father Latour himself. I found it wonderfully descriptive of the Father and his challenges, the people he worked with and the sparse New Mexico landscape. The landscape with its vast spaces is a character in its own right. Without this haunting setting the novel couldn’t have existed.
  streamsong | Jan 10, 2023 |
Sold, unread
  magenta_monstera | Dec 13, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (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 editionscalculated
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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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.

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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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