By Stephanie Durrans
This is often the 1st full-length research to handle the complicated concerns eager about Cather's dating to France and to the various French writers (Zola, Flaubert, Sand, France, Merimee, Loti, etc.) that maintain cropping up in her literary and journalistic output. the writer lines the highbrow and creative roots that nourished Cather's writing and to ascertain the dynamic courting among American and French literatures.
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Additional info for The Influence of French Culture on Willa Cather: Intertextual References and Resonances
Cather's ambivalent attitude similarly shows itself in her attempts to join together 15 in a sometimes precarious equilibrium what could appear as two antagonistic geographical and literary territories. ' Inevitably, the confrontation between European and American modes of seeing reverberates onto the perception of the land and its literary representation. But however interesting such influences as Virgil's or Keats's might be, they fail to take into account the inherent tension between void and fullness which lies at the basis both of Alexandra's achievements and of Cather's own creative impulse.
He tells you about the color and shape and size, the calix and corolla, and the shape of the leaves. But he writes of them like a botanist, not a poet. Out of all his mass of floral detail you never catch a whiff of fragrance or a flash of color. (WP 141) Two years later, though, she acknowledged it somewhat less harshly as "Zola's greatest descriptive novel" (KA 369) while still concluding that "[you] may heap the details of beauty together forever, but they are not beauty until one human 23 soul feels and knows.
Sunlight on the plains is almost like sunlight on the northern seas; it is a glaring, irritating, shelterless light that makes the atmosphere throb and pulsate with heat" (KA 218). Not only does the sea blend life and death in a tantalizing medium; it has also always been seen as a space for deviance, marginality and transgression. As opposed to the distinct traces left by man when blazing a trail through the wilderness-thus figuring a definite meaning and direction-the sea quickly erases any such traces.
The Influence of French Culture on Willa Cather: Intertextual References and Resonances by Stephanie Durrans