Our story this month for the Willa Cather Short Story Project is “The Elopement of Allen Poole” which appeared in The Hesperian on April 15, 1893.
Here’s the link to the full story at the Willa Cather Archive: https://cather.unl.edu/writings/shortfiction/ss023
You can also read the story and then browse through The Hesperian at Nebraska Newspapers, which is the source for the image above. I also enjoy looking at the ads, such as the one below.
Telegrams and horse-drawn wagons. Ads like this provide a little slice of what life was like in a late-19th-century city and show us what is still the same. Instead of telegrams we have texts, instead of wagons we have FedEx, and apparently reliable messengers will always be a strong selling point.
From San Fran to the South
The last two stories we read, “A Son of the Celestial” and “The Conversion of Sum Loo,” were set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, a place 19-year-old Cather had not visited. In this month’s story, Cather is taking us back to the South of her childhood. She was nine years old when her family moved from Virginia to Nebraska. You’ll notice a much stronger sense of place in “The Elopement of Allen Poole.”
Read “The Elopement of Allen Poole” sometime this month and then come back to discuss it on the response post I will share on June 23rd, the fourth Wednesday of the month. Or, feel free to read now and comment here if you can’t wait until then!
New to this blog? Learn more about the Willa Cather Short Story Project here. In a nutshell, we’re reading one Cather short story a month. I remind everyone of what story we’re reading on the second Wednesday of the month and then share a response on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Jump in anytime!