Willa Cather’s 1935 novel drew on her lifelong interest in music, which plays a transformative role in the lives of her characters. Cather’s last novel set in the Great Plains tells the story of young Lucy Gayheart, who escapes life in small-town Haverford, Nebraska, in 1902 to pursue a career in music. In Chicago she falls in love with an older singer, Clement Sebastian, who finds renewed inspiration in her. However, tragic chance destroys their ensuing love affair. The novel has evoked divergent responses among critics and readers ever since its publication. This Willa Cather Scholarly Edition includes a historical essay providing fresh insight into the novel, the role of music, and Cather’s writing process. It also features photographs, maps, and explanatory notes with a full range of biographical, historical, and cultural information. The textual editing of the novel, approved by the Committee on Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association, draws on corrected typescripts and proofs and presents a clean, authoritative text of the first edition.
About the Author
David Porter, a professor of classics, English, and music from 1962 to 2013, also served as president of Carleton College (1986–87) and Skidmore College (1987–99). He is the author of On the Divide: The Many Lives of Willa Cather (Nebraska, 2008) and coauthor of Seeking Life Whole: Willa Cather and the Brewsters. Kari A. Ronning is a research associate professor of English and textual editor of the Willa Cather Scholarly Editions, most recently The Song of the Lark (Nebraska, 2012). She worked on the historical editing of A Lost Lady (Nebraska, 1997) and Obscure Destinies (Nebraska, 1998). Frederick M. Link (1930–2011), professor emeritus of English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, is the textual editor of Cather’s Obscure Destinies (Nebraska, 1998), The Professor’s House (Nebraska, 2002), and Shadows on the Rock (Nebraska, 2006).
"The Willa Cather Scholarly Edition of Lucy Gayheart provides readers with a fresh and insightful look at Cather’s penultimate, and often undervalued, novel."—Emily J. Rau, Great Plains Quarterly