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Youth and the Bright Medusa
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Youth and the Bright Medusa

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  144 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Paul had just come in to dress for dinner; he sank into a chair, weak in the knees, and clasped his head in his hands. It was to be worse than jail, even; the tepid waters of Cordelia Street were to close over him finally and forever. The grey monotony stretched before him in hopeless, unrelieved years; Sabbath-school, Young People's Meeting, the yellow-papered room, the d ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Echo Library (first published 1920)
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60th out of 105 books — 60 voters
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Best of Willa Cather
27th out of 31 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

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May 11, 2014 Sketchbook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you care for 20thC American Lit, you love Willa Cather. She breaks hearts in a few sentences. Cather tops any American Lit List with Edith Wharton and Scott Fitzgerald. Who else is there on top 20th tier? In spare, concise style she digs into emotions and dreams.

This fine collection includes 'Paul's Case' (lad in midwest plans an escape with No Exit); 'A Wagner Matinee' (elderly aunt fr Nebraska meets nephew in Boston for a final, naked moment at a Wagner concert); 'Coming, Aphrodite!' (a yo
Perry Whitford
Nov 04, 2015 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent short story collection from Cather, featuring opera divas, dreamy adolescents, teary-eyed spinsters and a dead sculptor in order to explore a common theme, the trials and tribulations of the artistic temperament in a world of commerce.

'Coming, Aphrodite!' is the first and longest piece, where an unstoppable young starlet called Eden Bower (real name Edna) crosses paths with a struggling young artist at the very outset of her march to fame.

'The Diamond Mine' looks at the life of a very
Jenny Yates
Mar 19, 2008 Jenny Yates rated it it was amazing
The stories in this collection are mostly set in NYC and Boston, and they're all about artists - writers, musicians, sculptors - and their relationship to society. There are stories about glitter, about inspiration, and about expectations. They are all beautifully written.
Barbara Richardson
Jan 13, 2011 Barbara Richardson rated it it was amazing
I reread Cather's short stories every few years. She has a radiant, powerful punch for me which few writers share. "A Wagner Matinee" is brilliant. "Coming, Aphrodite" would make a stunning movie.
Larry Piper
Sep 07, 2014 Larry Piper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of short stories that Willa Cather published in various periodicals between 1905 and 1920. Four of them, I believe, had previously appeared in an earlier short-story collection, The Troll Garden. With one exception, the stories are about the lives of various artists, mostly female singers, but include one painter, one sculptor, and indirectly, one composer. The stories are written in Cather's calm, but realistic, style. She doesn't much romanticize things, but shows lif ...more
Jun 04, 2012 Melody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, classics
With four new stories and four previously published in The Troll Garden, I didn't find much new to fall in love with...too many opera stars/famous girls. Of the four new stories (Coming, Aphrodite!, The Diamond Mine, A Gold Slipper, and Scandal) Coming, Aphrodite! was certainly the fullest, with vivid scenes and interesting characters. Of the four republished stories (Paul's Case, A Wagner Matinee, The Sculptor's Funeral, and A Death in the Desert) A Wagner Matinee remains my favorite. It contai ...more
Apr 24, 2013 Sveta rated it it was amazing
Beautiful characterizations, it felt like each story was composed of two or so portraits, they would have very thick and primary coloring. Most of the settings she writes about tend to be portrayed as either full of air and light or dark and rot, environments that typically inspire sort of lacy prose. I like how Cather writes of just human flesh... the interplay of justness/justice in these stories is really great, added a billion more books from Cather to my reading list)))
Feb 11, 2015 Loli rated it liked it
More like a 3.8
Jun 08, 2013 Katrina rated it liked it
This is a collection of short stories, most of which feature young female opera singers as the main character, but the storylines and settings are all very different. Not my favourite of Willa Cather's work but still very readable. This is available from Project Gutenberg.
Lee Anne
Jan 19, 2011 Lee Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-author
There are eight short stories in this collection, but the final four were also in The Troll Garden, which I'd already read, so that made for a quick read--bonus!

"Coming, Aphrodite!" may be one of the best short stories I have ever read. Simply perfect.
Donna Davis
Apr 25, 2013 Donna Davis rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I thought I adored everything Willa Cather wrote. Turns out I just read the best stuff first. This? Meh. Sure didn't keep me awake at bedtime, I'll say that for it! The plot wandered and the characters never took shape.
Blake Reichenbach
Nov 29, 2012 Blake Reichenbach rated it it was amazing
Purely beautiful. A collection of stories about artists in the ever-romanticized 1920s deviates from Cather's normal tales of the American pioneer front, but the stories are resounding and melancholy in the most touching way.
Jan 05, 2008 rinabeana rated it really liked it
I've been really impressed with what I've read of Cather's work so I thought I'd check out her short stories. I was reminded why I enjoy her writing so much. She's so descriptive, even in the framework of the short story.
Aug 26, 2008 Calvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether it be the first reading, or now on perhaps the 30th reading-Paul's Case and Coming, Aphrodite remind me why I love the written word.
Sarah Sammis
May 16, 2011 Sarah Sammis rated it liked it
Another collection I'm surprised that I read so early. I thought I had started reading Willa Cather in my 30s, not my 20s.
Dec 09, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: stories, cather, 2009
Four stars just for Paul's Case - all the others are cranky, elitist, erudite, urban, ugh. Not happy stories.
Patty Chang
Jul 29, 2012 Patty Chang rated it liked it
A bunch fo short stories. Some gems, some will stay with you, some just good.
Virginia Albanese
Dec 05, 2011 Virginia Albanese rated it liked it
Love Cather's descriptive abilities. Series short stories.
Jan 06, 2008 Amy rated it liked it
Top-notch writing. Plots could be more interesting.
Jan 17, 2013 Jillian rated it liked it
Shelves: lady-authors, 2013
A worthwhile read, but not as good as Cather's novels.
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Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley, Virgina (Gore) in December 7, 1873. Her novels on frontier life brought her to national recognition. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, One of Ours (1922), set during World War I. She grew up in Virginia and Nebraska. She then attended the University of Nebraska, initially planning to become a physician, but after writing ...more
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“Oh, he’s an old friend from the West,” said Eden easily. “I won’t introduce you, because he doesn’t like people. He’s a recluse. Good-bye.” 4 likes
“Bouchalka was not a reflective person. He had his own idea of what a great prima donna should be like, and he took it for granted that Mme. Garnet corresponded to his conception. The curious thing was that he managed to impress his idea upon Cressida herself. She began to see herself as he saw her, to try to be like the notion of her that he carried everywhere in that pointed head of his. She was exalted quite beyond herself. Things that had been chilled under the grind came to life in her that winter, with the breath of Bouchalka’s adoration. Then, if ever in her life, she heard the bird sing on the branch outside her window; and she wished she were younger, lovelier, freer. She wished there were no Poppas, no Horace, no Garnets. She longed to be only the bewitching creature Bouchalka imagined her.” 2 likes
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