Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Quarterly 33:1 (Winter 2013)


© 2013 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


For Cather, the aphorism “he laughs well who laughs / the last laugh,” which concludes Falstaff, a Verdi opera she admired, was a prophecy of sorts. She continues to have the last laugh because of her work’s stubborn refusal to be categorized. After a century of scholarship, she still resists labels as much as she did when alive, as Janis Stout notes in one of the many insightful essays in this latest collection of Cather scholarship. Stout maintains that “we err when, in the effort to define a Catherian aesthetic, we try to place her in one and only one category.” The ninth volume of Cather Studies transcends the usual tendency to classify Cather as modern here and antimodern there, more interestingly highlighting tensions with modernism itself.