Willa Sibert Cather was an early twentieth century writer. She wrote
about the qualities of courage, sensitivity, and perseverance. Most often, her
novels and short stories took place in rural townships. She was born sometime
in 1873, in her grandmother's house. She was named after an Aunt Willela who
had died; however, she chose to believe that her name was derived from her
grandparent's names. She was the first child of Charles Fectigue and Mary
Cather. Willa was the oldest of the seven children.
In 1877, Willa and her family moved out of Virginia to Nebraska. The
Cather family had been living in Virginia for four generations. When she was
nine, her father bought a ranch near Red Cloud, Nebraska. Willa was excited
with this change, because she was free to roam outdoors. Willa would often
listen to old ladies, and hear of their immigration from Bosnia and Sweden.
There were no schools near the ranch, so Willa studied at home. A neighbor
taught her Latin, and Willa would practice English skills by reading the
classics to her grandmother. When Willa was in her teens, the family moved out
of the ranch and into the village, where she attended Red Cloud High School.
She attended the University of Nebraska, and graduated in 1895. As a student
she worked as a journalist, copy editor, critic, and fiction writer. When she
graduated, she moved back east to Pennsylvania. It was here where she worked on
a Pittsburgh newspaper named The Library. She also taught English in a high
school. Willa published "The Dance at Chevalier's," and four other short
stories under a pen name of Henry Nicklemann. Another major publication for her
was in April 1900, when "Eric Hermannson's Soul," was published in Cosmopolitan
magazines. In 1903, The April Twilights, a collection of poems was published.
In the Spring of 1905, publisher's Melbourne and Phillips brought out the Troll
Garden, a collection of short stories.
Willa then... [continues]
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