My Ántonia, Essential Revision Notes
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Table of Contents
My Ántonia by Willa Cather
Willa Cather was born on December 7, 1873, in rural Virginia. At the age of nine, she moved with her family to Red Cloud, Nebraska, where she spent the remainder of her childhood. After graduating from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1895, she moved to Pittsburgh to begin a career in journalism. In all, Cather spent five years in the Pittsburgh newspaper and magazine trade, working at Home Monthly and the Pittsburgh Leader.
Between 1901 and 1906 she taught high school English and Latin in Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh area. During this period, she began to publish her first short stories. These early successes led to a position in New York City with McClure’s, a magazine that often featured investigative journalism, where Cather served as an editor for six years.
In 1912 Cather published her first novel, Alexander’s Bridge, which received a lukewarm reception. The next year, Cather caught the attention of the literary world with the appearance of O Pioneers!, exploring and celebrating frontier life in the American West. In 1918 she made her most lasting contribution to her status as one of the most celebrated post–Civil War American authors with the publication of My Ántonia.
Like many of Cather’s novels, My Ántonia fictionalizes recollections of her youth in rural Nebraska. Though the narrative of My Ántonia is fictional, there are many similarities between Cather’s life and that of the novel’s protagonist. As ...