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The Troll Garden

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  245 Ratings  ·  34 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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Nov 19, 2009 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, fiction
“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
Feb 13, 2009 Lee Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-author
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
Nov 05, 2009 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, fiction
“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
Wendy Welch
Dec 04, 2008 Wendy Welch rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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.
Ronald Christ
Jan 18, 2009 Ronald Christ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 03, 2016 Karin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, kindle
While the stories individually read are good,back to back they are pretty much the same theme,only the names have been changed ,so to speak.
Sep 08, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished, classics
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."

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
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
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
Mar 23, 2016 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This first collection of Cather's fiction is very hit-or-miss---but the hits happen to be unforgettable. "The Sculptor's Funeral," "Paul's Case," "A Wagner Matinee," and "A Death in the Desert" are the highlights, and each story centers on the pain and remorse of the "unlived life," especially for those who wish to be artists or to live amongst artists. Although Cather is known as a writer of the Great Plains, these stories take place in a variety of locales, including Wyoming, Pittsburgh, and N ...more
Apr 26, 2013 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 23, 2008 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 02, 2009 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 03, 2012 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bill FromPA
Flavia and Her Artists - a bluestocking's salon is presented as a gallery of grotesques. They bite.
The Sculptor’s Funeral - a prophet without honor
The Garden Lodge - the return of the repressed
’A Death in the Desert’ - A dying singer takes comfort in a doppelganger
The Wedding of Phaedra - a uncomfortable masterpiece is banished to the antipodes
A Wagner Matinee - sacrificing art for life
Paul's Case - A misfit lives his dream for a few days
Jan 12, 2011 Ke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
I loved the word-smithing, as always, but thought some stories in this volume were better than others. I didn't care for The Troll Garden or the Marriage of Phaedra, but I did like The Bohemian Girl and a few others.
Jun 18, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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.
May 03, 2016 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Willa Cather's first published work: a collection of short stories revolving around the theme of people either involved in art or wishing to be involved in the world of art. A few of the stories are excellent, such as Paul's Case.
Mar 15, 2016 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful early Willa already in full artistic flower.
Jann Cather
Aug 28, 2012 Jann Cather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shortstories
Best short collection of Cather's best short stories. These stories need to be in everyone's reading repertoire.
Sonia Angie
Oct 09, 2013 Sonia Angie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, uni
I just read "A Wagner Matinée". Also, "Double Birthday", not in this collection. Turns out, I don't like Willa Cather.
Dec 03, 2014 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very accomplished early stories from Willa Cather.

Full review:
Skip Murray
May 14, 2013 Skip Murray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 12, 2012 baggyparagraphs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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!
Dec 25, 2012 Gobasso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
Apr 09, 2015 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
well written, engaging short stories about another time in american life ... exposing the underbelly of our culture
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Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley (Gore), Virginia, 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 writin ...more
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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.” 5 likes
“He knew by heart every individual clump of bunch grass in the miles of red shaggy prairie that stretched before his cabin. He knew it in all the deceitful loveliness of its early summer, in all the bitter barrenness of its autumn. He had seen it smitten by all the plagues of Egypt. He had seen it parched by drought, and sogged by rain, beaten by hail, and swept by fire, and in the grasshopper years he had seen it eaten as bare and clean as bones that the vultures have left. After the great fires he had seen it stretch for miles and miles, black and smoking as the floor of hell.” 4 likes
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