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Willa Cather's Southwestern Grave Robbers

Willa Cather's Southwestern Grave Robbers Willa Cather’s Southwestern Grave Robbers Carolyn Dekker In Willa Cather’s 1915 novel Th e Song of the Lark, the Swedish American protagonist, Th ea Kronborg, arrives at her full musical powers singing the part of Norse heroine Sieglinde in the German opera Die Walküre. Th ea attributes her cosmopolitan triumph large- ly to a summer spent in Panther Canyon, Arizona, climbing among the ruins of ancient cliff dwellings. Cather’s insistent linking of the opera singer and the cliff dwellings is the central interpretive oddi- ty in Th e Song of the Lark and is best understood in conjunction with the other Cather work with traces of absent Indians at its heart, Cather’s 1925 novel Th e Professor’s House. Th at novel, too, has a cen- tral oddity: the insertion of the thoroughly Western tale of Tom Outland’s amateur archaeology on a Southwestern mesa into the story of an aging Midwestern college professor. Th ese two works constitute Cather’s deepest engagement with mainstream American notions of success, wealth, and fame. Pub- lished ten years apart, both emphatically link the rural Southwest to rarefi ed cosmopolitan stories, and both are queered by cliff dwell- ings. I use the word “queered” in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature uni_neb

Willa Cather's Southwestern Grave Robbers

Western American Literature , Volume 54 (4) – Feb 5, 2020

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © Western Literature Association
ISSN
0043-3462

Abstract

Willa Cather’s Southwestern Grave Robbers Carolyn Dekker In Willa Cather’s 1915 novel Th e Song of the Lark, the Swedish American protagonist, Th ea Kronborg, arrives at her full musical powers singing the part of Norse heroine Sieglinde in the German opera Die Walküre. Th ea attributes her cosmopolitan triumph large- ly to a summer spent in Panther Canyon, Arizona, climbing among the ruins of ancient cliff dwellings. Cather’s insistent linking of the opera singer and the cliff dwellings is the central interpretive oddi- ty in Th e Song of the Lark and is best understood in conjunction with the other Cather work with traces of absent Indians at its heart, Cather’s 1925 novel Th e Professor’s House. Th at novel, too, has a cen- tral oddity: the insertion of the thoroughly Western tale of Tom Outland’s amateur archaeology on a Southwestern mesa into the story of an aging Midwestern college professor. Th ese two works constitute Cather’s deepest engagement with mainstream American notions of success, wealth, and fame. Pub- lished ten years apart, both emphatically link the rural Southwest to rarefi ed cosmopolitan stories, and both are queered by cliff dwell- ings. I use the word “queered” in

Journal

Western American Literatureuni_neb

Published: Feb 5, 2020

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