|“The Song of the Lark” by Jules Breton|
- Cather started writing the novel in 1913 and finished it in early 1915. It’s Cather’s longest novel.
- It was published in October 1915 with an initial printing of 3,000 copies. (O Pioneers! first printing was 2,000.)
- Literary critic H. L. Mencken wrote that this novel placed Cather in, “the small class of American novelists who are seriously to be reckoned with.”
- The title comes from Jules Breton‘s painting “The Song of the Lark.”
Vintage Classics description:
“The time will come when she will be ranked above Hemingway.” –Leon Edel
In this powerful portrait of the self-making of an artist, Willa Cather created one of her most extraordinary heroines. Thea Kronborg, a minister’s daughter in a provincial Colorado town, seems destined from childhood for a place in the wider world. But as her path to the world stage leads her ever farther from the humble town she can’t forget and from the man she can’t afford to love, Thea learns that her exceptional musical talent and fierce ambition are not enough.
It is in the solitude of a tiny rock chamber high in the side of an Arizona cliff–“a cleft in the heart of the world”–that Thea comes face to face with her own dreams and desires, stripped clean by the haunting purity of the ruined cliff dwellings and inspired by the whisperings of their ancient dust. Here she finds the courage to seize her future and to use her gifts to catch “the shining, elusive element that is life itself–life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose.” In prose as shimmering and piercingly true as the light in a desert canyon, Cather takes us into the heart of a woman coming to know her deepest self.
- You can download a free digital edition from Project Gutenberg here.
- Support the Willa Cather Foundation and order it online here.