My antonia

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  • Publié le : 14 août 2010
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Like Jim Burden, her narrator,in My Antonia, Willa Cather was moved from a childhood home in Virginia to a house near Red Cloud, Nebraska. She says in an interview in 1913, »I would not know how mucha child’s life is bound up in the woods and hills and meadows around it,if I had not been jerked away from all these and thrown out into a country as bare as a piece of sheet iron. » Jim,looking outof the wagon on his first journey cannot pray because of the emptiness : »There was nothing but land : not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are mde. » Willa Cather returningas she describes Jim returning,when the land had been formed and the roads built,met again Annie Pavelka, the woman who was the direct original of My Antonia :like Jim,she formed friendships with herold friend’s many children,and the relationship survived the novel.
Willa Cather wrote of the origins of the novel : »One of the people who interested me most as a child was the Bohemian hired girl ofone of our neighbours who was so good to me…But from what point of view should I write up ? »She decided to write as a detached observer,and as a young man « because much of what I knew about Anniecame from the talks I had with the young men…There was enough material in that book for a lurid drama but I decided that in writing it I would dwell very lightly on those things a novelist wouldordinarily emphasise,and make up my story of the little everyday happenings and occurrences that form the greatest part of everyone’s life and happiness. »
That last sentence sounds a little suspicious-aprogramme for a bucolic idyll which My Antonia is not.Miss Cather had a conscious idyllic intention :Jim Burden is discovered as a student reading Virgil’s Georgics,which meant a great deal to WillaCather as astudent and writer. »Primus ego in patriam mecum…deducam Musas-I’ll be the first to bring the Muses of song to my birthplace. »She took from Virgil and Walt Whitman a sense that new art...