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The Troll Garden

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  171 ratings  ·  23 reviews
This collection of seven stories was originally published in 1905. The purpose of this edition is to produce the authoritative text as Cather intended it to appear and to note all the revisions that occurred in four of the stories. "New readers of these admirable Cather stories will find them still engaging as she writes about art and artists, East and West, the true and t ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published November 1984 by Meridian Classic (first published 1905)
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Dave
“The Troll Garden and Selected Stories” by Willa Cather contains some of her earliest writing. This collection includes the entirety of her 1905 collection “The Troll Garden”, along with her earliest nationally published story “On the Divide”, “Eric Hermannson’s Soul”, another very early story, “The Enchanted Bluff”, and “The Bohemian Girl”, two other early Cather stories that were published after “The Troll Garden”. The four additional stories all fall into her frontier life stories for which s ...more
Lee Anne
This is Willa Cather's first book, a collection of short stories, all loosely tied to people who love the arts. A wealthy woman who runs a salon/artist colony is excoriated in print by one of her former protegees, and her "why did HE marry HER" husband proves he loves her by hiding the news from her; a music-loving Bostonian, who's spent the last 30 years as a farm wife on the Nebraska prairie, returns to her hometown and is devastated by going to a performance of Wagner pieces; yet another weal ...more
Dave
“The Troll Garden” by Willa Cather contains some of her earliest writing. She had published a collection of poetry titled “April Twilights” a couple of years earlier, and there are a couple of earlier short stories which are not included in this collection, but other than that this is the earliest example of her writing. “The Troll Garden” includes seven stories which deal with the subject of art, in some way or another.

“Flavia and Her Artists” – This story was originally published in this colle
...more
Wendy Welch
Dec 04, 2008 Wendy Welch rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Wendy by: high school drama teacher
This is one of those books where I desperately wish I could have taken a writing class from the author. How can she take emotions and attitudes that subtle, that quiet in life lived day-by-day, and make them stand out so well without writing in an overblown, hyperbolic way? The stories are as quiet as the moments she teases out, and yet they twist your way of seeing the world into knots and make you ask big questions. My Antonia is a bigger version of this kind of writing, and most of us could m ...more
Ronald Christ
The first story, "Flavia and Her Artists," is a fine story, exceptionally sophisticated in technique and observation—not what one thinks of as typical Cather. The allusive framework of Alice in Wonderland works beautifully.
Laurel Hicks
A collection of poignant stories about arts and artists and those who love them and those who don't. One of my high-school teachers told me that Willa Cather was America's finest writer of short stories. I believe he was right.
Christopher Sutch
These early stories for Cather are mostly passable, with a few that are still awkward or lack sufficient conflict to be very interesting. The style seems derivative in large part, influenced perhaps by Edith Wharton and Stephen Crane. All the stories concern the conflict between artists or those with a developed aesthetic sense and other people who lack such talents or sense. Cather's take on this is quite different from similar stories by Wharton, for example. Most of the time Cather sides with ...more
Jukka
Troll Garden (1905) - Willa Cather
Read Paul's Case and The Bohemian Girl from this short story collection. The stories in this collection are all early works by Cather, preceding all her novels, but these two stories both show her range and brilliance.

Paul's Case likely had it's origin in true events from Cather's time teaching High School English in Pittsburgh in 1903. This story is often considered for it's insight on adolescent psychological disorder. Anyone know how Paul might be diagnosed t
...more
Jim Leckband
It was a nice surprise to find that "The Troll Garden" was a short story collection concentrated around somewhat loosely defined theme. All of the stories involved an interaction with artists. Evidently Cather had quite an interest in the calling and self-identification of the artist as she grew up in the Plains and it seems she was determined to escape the prairie life and become a writer.

The stories are very well written for a young writer, with hints of Henry James. The variety of the setting
...more
Jennifer
I absolutely loved the shorts. For some reason though, I couldn't get into the main novella and didn't finish it. My Favorite short was Eric Hermannson's Soul. I pulled out a lot of beloved quotes, too...

From On the Divide:

"Milton made a sad blunder when he put mountains in hell. MOuntains posutulate faith and aspiration. All mountain peoples are religious. It was the citites of the plans that, because of their utter lack of spirituality and the mad caprice of their vice, were cursed of God."

"Al
...more
Ron
Willa Cather (1873-1947) was a Virginian by birth, but lucky for the rest of us, she lived from the age of nine in little Red Cloud, Nebraska. And her life there on the Great Plains became the source of some of her best fiction: O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), and My Ántonia (1918).

The Troll Garden (1905) was a collection of stories written during her years living and working in Pittsburgh, after taking a degree in English from the University of Nebraska. Three of the stories ar
...more
Andrew
I have read quite a few of Willa Cather's work over the past year, nine book altogether, with another soon, and she has become one of my favorite authors, one I believe is sadly overlooked in the history of American literature.

The Troll Garden was her first published book, a collection of short stories. And you can see a young author, not yet sure of her themes and her voice, but picking up on it quickly.

Some of the stories were in fact not too great. But a few were quite good. I must admit that
...more
Steve
A mixed bag, at least in terms of my enjoyment, of short stories. As Cather's first collection of fiction, I suppose the unevenness is to be expected. Many stories have a common theme of disassociated cultures of the eastern, "sophisticated" U.S., and the rural, remote farmlands of the midwest. A former actress and star remembers her days at the height of the New York arts scene while dying from an unnamed disease in a Wyoming town. A sculptor's body is brought back from the east to be buried in ...more
Steven
This collection of short stories solidified my admiration of Willa Cather. I thoroughly enjoyed 'My Antonia' and 'The Professor's House' and loved 'Death Comes for the Archbishop'.

'The Troll Garden' is a collection of short stories that is certainly not cheery and uplifting, but thought provoking and very beautifully written. "A Death in the Desert", "A Wagner Matinee", "Paul's Case" were my favorite stories.

I ordinarily have a difficult time digesting short story collections. I struggle to ap
...more
Ke Huang
She is really into music and takes time describing it. I'm sure if I knew more music, I would know what she has to talk about.

Most of the characters care a lot about European culture. She can identify with male characters. There is some ethnic woman or people of Bohemian culture. But it didn't bring me anything new from what I read from Antonia.
Carol
I'm reading the 1983 University of Nebraska edition.

Some of the stories were just okay, but others absolutely amazing (esp "Paul's Case" "The Sculptor's Funeral" and "The Garden Lodge" A must read for those who love Cather's novels.
baggyparagraphs
Willa Cather's stories in this collection are approaching 120 years old, and despite the obvious influence of Henry James they retain their immediacy and potency. Really terrific reading!
Skip Murray
Cather's insights are astounding. After reading this book, or any of her books for that matter, can only be a changed person after reading the final pages.
Gobasso
I can never get enough stories about rural ve urban America in the early 20th Century. Cather's collection is wonderful. Truly enjoyed reading them.
Amber
Again, Cather's descriptions of life on the frontier are breathtaking. These stories did not captivate me like My Antonia did though.
Sonia Angie
I just read "A Wagner Matinée". Also, "Double Birthday", not in this collection. Turns out, I don't like Willa Cather.
Tom Andes
More people should read her; more people should read this book. It's enough to inspire anybody to leave the Midwest.
Jann Cather Weaver
Best short collection of Cather's best short stories. These stories need to be in everyone's reading repertoire.
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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
More about Willa Cather...
My Ántonia O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy, #1) Death Comes for the Archbishop The Song of the Lark The Professor's House

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“His spirit was warped by bitter vindictiveness and puerile self-commiseration, and he spent his days in scorn of the labour that brought him bread and in pitiful devotion to the labour that brought him only disappointment, writing interminable scores which demanded of the orchestra everything under heaven except melody.” 3 likes
“...she sat down at the piano and began to run over the first act of the Walkure, the last of his roles they had practiced together; playing listlessly and absently at first, but with gradually increasing seriousness. Perhaps it was the still heat of the summer night, perhaps it was the heavy odors from the garden that came in through the open windows; but as she played there grew and grew the feeling that he was there, beside her, standing in his accustomed place. In the duet at the end of the first act she heard him clearly: "Thou art the Spring for which I sighed in Winter's cold embraces." Once as he sang it, he had put his arm about her, his one hand under her heart, while with the other he took her right from the keyboard, holding her as he always held Sieglinde when he drew her toward the window. She had been wonderfully the mistress of herself at the time; neither repellent nor acquiescent. She remembered that she had rather exulted, then, in her self-control--which he had seemed to take for granted, though there was perhaps the whisper of a question from the hand under her heart. "Thou art the Spring for which I sighed in Winter's cold embraces." Caroline lifted her hands quickly from the keyboard, and she bowed her head in them, sobbing.” 2 likes
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