English, Department of


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College in the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Susan J. Rosowski. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 1993

Copyright (c) 1993 Polly P. Duryea


Paintings and Drawings in Willa Cather's Prose: A Catalogue Raisonné considers the specific artists and their visual art that greatly influenced Willa Cather's textual compositions. The Catalogue draws upon the author's research of Cather-related art from both American and European libraries and art museums. This art includes painting, drawing, illustration, and tapestry. A detailed and alphabetized list of selected artists and paintings that Cather preferred is provided. The artists are cross-referenced with Cather's own statements about their work or style. Included is biographical data for each artist, the named work of art, and often the date executed, the location then and now, and the museum acquisition date. Bibliographical information is given for books and articles on a related subject and for relevant criticism by Cather scholars. In addition, the illustrators for Cather's work, and her portrait painters, Leon Bakst and Nicolai Fechin, are discussed. The author comments briefly on how a specific work of art or style may correspond to Cather's textual allusions.

Throughout her career Cather memorized details about individual artists, including their lives and paintings, and she also followed the changing movements in art. Cather's interest in visual art was extraordinary. It ranged from the Old Masters, the French Academics, Dutch and Barbizon genre painters, to the revolutionary French Realist and Symbolist artists, the English Pre-Raphaelites, and the Impressionists- -both European and American. Cather deliberately used visual art to inform her textual structure, character, mood, or theme. Many of her writings reflect techniques used by the Symbolist artists and writers, and she even put to use the Post-Impressionist "language of cubisme." Links between paint and prose found in Cather's textual composition are explored in this dissertation.

Advisor: Susan J. Rosowski