An Interpretation of Cather’s Prairie Trilogy From the Perspective of Diaspora Criticism

Chang ZHENG

Abstract


Willa Cather (1873-1947) is an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and poet. She is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost American authors in the 20th century. Cather’s unique observations of the American West find full expression in her prairie trilogy, composed of O Pioneers! (1913), the Song of the Lark (1915), and My Ántonia (1918). However, the three novels have got unequal attention from both international and domestic scholars. There are much more studies on O Pioneers! and My Ántonia than The Song of the Lark. The literary approaches already in use are mainly feminism and ecocriticism. But the author of the thesis holds that the heart of them is about the material and spiritual realities of those immigrants in the American West in the dawn of the 20th century, thereupon, it is reasonable to put them together for a comparative study. To have a better understanding of the transnational phenomena observed by Cather, we can adopt Diaspora criticism to find out what Cather wants to convey to us: the cultural logic of beyond, against the singularities of identities and of perspectives. Hopefully, approaching Cather’s prairie trilogy from the perspective of Diaspora criticism will shed some new light on her novels.

 


Keywords


Cather; Prairie trilogy; Diaspora criticism

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References


Brah, A. (1996). Cartographies of diaspora: Contesting identities. London: Routledge.

Braziel, J. E., & Mannur, A. (Eds.). (2003). Theorizing diaspora: A reader. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Cather, W. (1949) . On writing. New York: Knopf.

Cohen, R. (1997). Global diasporas: An introduction. London: University College London Press.

Mishra, S. (2006). Diaspora criticism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Rabin, J. G. (2004). Surviving the crossing: Immigration, ethnicity, and gender in Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, and Nella Larsen. New York: Routledge.

Urgo, J. (1995). Willa cather and the myth of American migration. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/n

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