English, Department of


Date of this Version

January 2003


From Cather Studies, Volume 5, edited by Susan J. Rosowski, © 2003 University of Nebraska Press. A version of this paper is online at http://libtextcenter.unl.edu/examples/servlet/transform/tamino/Library/cather?&_xmlsrc=http://libtextcenter.unl.edu/cather/scholarship/cs/vol5/cat.cs005.xml&_xslsrc=http://libtextcenter.unl.edu/cather/xslt/cather_cs_reynolds.xsl


One of the things that Cather’s writing teaches us is that space, especially “natural” space, is always mediated, always shaped. Cather’s own framing of nature was informed by some very specific, historically particular ideas. The modernity of Cather’s environmental imagination is illustrated by a comparison between her fictionalization of American spaces and Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural formation of space. An “environmental imagination” is at once an imagination of the environment and an imagination formed or created by the environment. Cather worked repeatedly toward this doubled state, finding a heightened, mystical state-of-being when we are both formed by and in mastery of the environment.