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

    Tolstoy, Leo

  1. Author: Tolstoy, Leo
    Title: "The Kreutzer Sonata"
    Date: 1889
    Genre: fiction
    Note Relating to Cather: According to O Pioneers! Scholarly Edition, "Historical Essay," in a letter to H.L. Mencken, "Cather writes that when she was fourteen she came upon four of Tolstoy's works — Anna Karenina, The Cossacks, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and The Kreutzer Sonata — and for the next three years read them over and over again. She says that this reading so strongly colored the way she saw her own world in America that she eventually turned to a long apprenticeship with Henry James and Mrs. Wharton to get over it. Yet in writing O Pioneers!, she wonders if she has really recovered from the Russian influence." The title of Tolstoy's story refers to Beethoven's Sonata in A minor, opus 47, for piano and violin. In The Song of the Lark III, the story does not make Thea Kronborg "feel any more cheerful. She threw it aside with hatred. She could not believe it was written by the same man who wrote the novel that had thrilled her," Anna Karenina.
    Note Source: O Pioneers! Scholarly Edition, "Historical Essay"; Song of the Lark Part III, Chap. 5


  2. Author: Tolstoy, Leo
    Title: "What is Art?"
    Date: 1898
    Genre: nonfiction
    Note Relating to Cather: "Art is too terribly human to be very 'great' perhaps. Some very great artists have outgrown art, the men were bigger than the game. Tolstoi did, and Leonardo did." In "A Gold Slipper," Kitty Ayrshire says that she has talked with Tolstoy about his essay "What is Art?" Marshall McKann responds that he thinks Tolstoy is "a crank."
    Note Source: World and the Parish 2:743; Youth and the Bright Medusa 142


  3. Author: Tolstoy, Leo
    Title: Anna Karenina
    Date: 1878
    Genre: fiction
    Note Relating to Cather: In an 1896 Journal article Cather writes: "Tolstoi is writing a new novel. Heaven grant that it is not another Master and Man, and yet the deluded old man once wrote Anna Karenina!" In a letter to H.L. Mencken, "Cather writes that when she was fourteen she came upon four of Tolstoy's works — Anna Karenina, The Cossacks, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and The Kreutzer Sonata — and for the next three years read them over and over again. She says that this reading so strongly colored the way she saw her own world in America that she eventually turned to a long apprenticeship with Henry James and Mrs. Wharton to get over it. Yet in writing O Pioneers!, she wonders if she has really recovered from the Russian influence." In The Song of the Lark, Thea buys a "poor translation" of Anna Karenina and is able to forget the people of Moonstone in her absorption in the story; but "Thea would have been astonished if she could have known how, years afterward, when she had need of them, those old faces [of Moonstone] were to come back to her... that they would seem to her then as full of meaning, as mysteriously marked by Destiny, as the people who danced the mazurka under the elegant Korsunsky," the director of the ball in Part I, Chap. 22 of Tolstoy's novel. In "Consequences" in Uncle Valentine and Other Stories, Henry Eastman tells Kier Cavenaugh that he thinks most suicides are without motive, merely acts of desperation, like Anna Karenina's.
    Note Source: Journal 5/17/1896; O Pioneers! Scholarly Edition, "Historical Essay" 291; Song of the Lark Part I, Chap. 17; Uncle Valentine and Other Stories 76


  4. Author: Tolstoy, Leo
    Title: Master and Man
    Date: 1895
    Genre: fiction
    Note Relating to Cather: "Tolstoi is writing a new novel. Heaven grant that it is not another Master and Man, and yet the deluded old man once wrote Anna Karenina!"
    Note Source: Journal 5/17/1896


  5. Author: Tolstoy, Leo
    Title: The Cossacks
    Date: 1863
    Genre: novel
    Note Relating to Cather: In a letter to H.L. Mencken, "Cather writes that when she was fourteen she came upon four of Tolstoy's works—Anna Karenina, The Cossacks, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and The Kreutzer Sonata—and for the next three years read them over and over again. She says that this reading so strongly colored the way she saw her own world in America that she eventually turned to a long apprenticeship with Henry James and Mrs. Wharton to get over it. Yet in writing O Pioneers!, she wonders if she has really recovered from the Russian influence."
    Note Source: O Pioneers! Scholarly Edition, "Historical Essay" 291


  6. Author: Tolstoy, Leo
    Title: The Death of Ivan Ilyich
    Date: 1886
    Genre: fiction
    Note Relating to Cather: In a letter to H.L. Mencken, "Cather writes that when she was fourteen she came upon four of Tolstoy's works—Anna Karenina, The Cossacks, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and The Kreutzer Sonata—and for the next three years read them over and over again. She says that this reading so strongly colored the way she saw her own world in America that she eventually turned to a long apprenticeship with Henry James and Mrs. Wharton to get over it. Yet in writing O Pioneers!, she wonders if she has really recovered from the Russian influence."
    Note Source: O Pioneers! Scholarly Edition, "Historical Essay" 291


  7. Author: Tolstoy, Leo
    Title: War and Peace
    Date: 1869
    Genre: fiction
    Note Relating to Cather: The book Cather most wishes that she had written is War and Peace.
    Note Source: A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather #1522


  8. Author: Tolstoy, Leo
    Note Relating to Cather: Even Tolstoi concluded finally that reforming society was a "mistake."
    Note Source: A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather #1357 (See also Not Under Forty for mentions of Tolstoy's work 47-48)