Bibliography of Willa Cather's Reading

This bibliography was created by Sharon Hoover and Melissa Ryan. They know that the existing work, though large, is incomplete, and they invite interested scholars, readers, and students to submit new works to the bibliography. To do so, please contact the editor of the Willa Cather Archive at . Any resource that attempts to be comprehensive depends upon a community of scholars, readers, and other interested parties.

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Total Number of Entries in Reading Bibliography: 1056

    Bunyan, John

  1. Author: Bunyan, John
    Title: The Holy War
    Date: 1763 ed.
    Genre: fiction
    Note Relating to Cather: In Sapphira and the Slave Girl, Henry Colbert "took from the shelf a book he often read, John Bunyan's Holy War, -- a copy printed in Glasgow in 1763." He reads the passage beginning "Also things began to grow scarce in Mansoul," and continues with "When the town of Mansoul had thus far rid themselves of their enemies." In reading, "he found consolation. An honest man, who had suffered much, was speaking to him of things about which he could not unbosom himself to anyone." In Sapphira and the Slave Girl, Henry Colbert "found a comforter in John Bunyan, who also had been troubled." In "The Professor's Comencement," Emerson Graves recalls The Holy War late at night, and as he does so, he worries about which "captains" shall replace him.
    Note Source: Sapphira and the Slave Girl Book VI Chap. 3; Sapphira and the Slave Girl Book II Chap. 1; Collected Short Fiction 1892-1912 286


  2. Author: Bunyan, John
    Title: The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come
    Date: 1678, 1684
    Genre: fiction
    Note Relating to Cather: In Song of the Lark, Cather writes, "Sometimes she [Thea] got so nervous at the piano that she left it, and snatching up her hat and cape went out and walked, hurrying through the streets like Christian fleeing from the City of Destruction." In Cather's One of Ours, there is an engraving with scenes from Pilgrim's Progress over the sofa in the Wheeler house. In a letter, Lewis writes that Cather said she read The Pilgrim's Progress eight times during one of her first winters in Nebraska. In an 1897 Home Monthly article, Cather writes, "If I were asked what two books were the most essential to a child's library and most important in his education, I should name two very old-fashioned ones that their fathers and mothers read and loved before them: Pilgrim's Progress and The Swiss Family Robinson.... Like Jo and Meg in Little Women, [some children] even dramatized and played [Pilgrim's Progress]." In "Before Breakfast," Henry Grenfell is compared to Christian because he "left his burden at the bottom of the hill." In "Old Mrs. Harris,"as she lies dying, grandmother Harris recalls the line "Then said Mercy, how sweet is rest to them that labour." In Sapphira and the Slave Girl, Henry Colbert identifies Nancy with Mercy. In "Scandal," Kitty Ayrshire wants "to believe that everything for sale in Vanity Fair was worth the advertised price."
    Note Source: Song of the Lark Part II, Chap. 3; One of Ours Book I, Chap.7; Lewis 14; Home Monthly 1/1897; The Old Beauty and Others 161; Obscure Destinies 152; Sapphira and the Slave Girl; Youth and the Bright Medusa "Scandal" 153