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Willa Cather: A Life Saved Up

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Willa Cather, widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of this century, has also been dismissed in certain circles as a nostalgist, a cranky critic of the modern world. In Willa Cather: A Life Saved Up, Hermione Lee offers an alternative interpretation of a writer whose life and work were marked by fracture and dislocation, carefully suppressed or ...more
Paperback, 409 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published January 1st 1989)
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Gabriella
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
A responsible but disappointing study. I had read all but one of the novels and many of the short stories, and wanted a biography. Unfortunately, despite the title, much of this volume is taken up with essays on the works, of varying quality. My objections:

• In the spirit of feminist criticism, activities and styles are regularly described as "male" and "female." It's hard to argue with some of these categories: sure, cooking has usually been done by women. But what critical insight is reached
...more
Jerry Delaney
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting a straight biography of Cather so I was disappointed when the book started with long discussions of her writings as well as her connections with feminism and cross-dressing. But as the book continued I started to really get into it. I've read many of the novels over the yearend she is a favorite of mine. The books vary in setting, though we think abutter always benign the Western plains. Yet Lucy Gayheart is in Chicago while Death Comes for the Archbishop is in New Mexico. The ...more
Barbara
A very well written book about Cather and her writing, but for some reason it just didn't grab me. Lots of literary analysis, but a bit skimpy on her life. However, it IS making me eager to read or reread her work.
Trish
Feb 20, 2011 rated it liked it
I am devoted to Willa Cather. So many things that I'm looking for in a novelist are present in her writing; history, a palpable sense of place, family struggles, artistic struggles and just dazzlingly poetic writing. The Song of the Lark is truly one of my favorite books and I've read most of the other novels.
I bought this book looking for details about her life and some reflection about its relationship to her writing. I was curious to see how she created her work out of her life...
Like many
...more
Tara
Jan 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid, if unexciting, take on this great American novelist's life and times. She wrote about the lost pioneer spirit and is still somewhat underrated outside the US. More of a critical biography than a straightforward life story, so it helps to have read a sizeable chunk of Cather's work beforehand. I've only read two of her books and it didn't feel like enough, but Hermione Lee's reappraisal has encouraged me to read more.
Amanda
Feb 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't love this one as much as the Woolf biography. Probably, partly because I'm so much more of a Woolf fan but also because Lee hadn't honed her craft as much by this point and because Cather left very little to be recorded of her life. Anyway, worth a read for Cather fans.
Deb
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: skimmed
Read large sections related to the literature I had read. This volume is more critical study of her work and comparison to Cather's own life (and seeing inspiration for work) rather than biography. Lee has more recent work on Cather which is probably more encompassing.
Corinne Blackmer
Jan 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: gay-history
read
Millie
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Learned more about Willa Cather and her writing. Now I'm on to some of her novels--always a good sign of a good biography.
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Hermione Lee grew up in London and was educated at Oxford. She began her academic career as a lecturer at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va (Instructor, 1970-1971) and at Liverpool University (Lecturer, 1971-1977). She taught at the University of York from 1977, where over twenty years she was Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, and Professor of English Literature. From ...more