Essays of Interest Temporarily Available for Seminar Participants
Giorcelli, Cristina. "Willa Cather and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes: Extending the Comparison." Literature and Belief 23.2 (2003): 71-88.
Murphy, John J. "Building the House of Faith: 'Hard Punishments,' the Plan and the Fragment." Willa Cather and the Culture of Belief. Ed. John J. Murphy. Provo, UT: Brigham Young UP, 2002: 203-228.
Program and Information Documents
The Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation, in cooperation with Brigham Young University, St. Lawrence University, the University of Provence at Aix, and the University of Paris 3 (Sorbonne Nouvelle), announces the 11th International Willa Cather Seminar. It will be held 24 June to 1 July 2007 in Paris and at the Abbey St-Michel de Frigolet. The Abbey is located in Tarascon in the south of France, midway between Avignon and Arles.
A committed Francophile, Cather first visited France in 1902 and returned for long stays many times throughout her life. Her companion and biographer Edith Lewis explains that "French culture, coming to it as [Cather] did in her most impressionable years, . . . spoke more directly to her imagination [than English culture], and most definitely influenced her writing." Cather and Lewis spent the summer of 1920 in the Latin Quarter of Paris in order to imagine living in the Middle Ages, an experience that affected Cather's subsequent novels.
"A Writer's Worlds" has been chosen as the seminar theme to encourage broad explorations of Cather's various imaginative intersections—biographical, geographical, historical, philosophical, literary, social, and others. Cather's works as seen from a European perspective will be a particular emphasis. Given this, the keynote speakers are A. S. Byatt, the Booker Prize-winning novelist and author of introductions to Cather's works in Virago Editions, and Marc Chénetier (University of Paris 7), whose well-regarded work on American Literature includes translations of most of Cather's novels into French.
In Paris, seminar sessions will focus on sites in the city that Cather drew upon, most especially for Death Comes for the Archbishop and Shadows on the Rock. Most seminar sessions will be held at the Abbey, to which seminarians will travel on Tuesday, 27 June. From there, excursions will depart to places in Provence related to Cather's writing, including Avignon, where Cather set "Hard Punishments," the novella she left unfinished at her death.
The seminar will be codirected by John J. Murphy (Brigham Young University), Francoise Palleau-Papin (University of Paris 3—Sorbonne Nouvelle), and Robert Thacker (St. Lawrence University).
Proposals will be accepted between June 1, 2006 and October 1, 2006. Please see the seminar brochure for more details. Due to a capacity limit, an early response is encouraged. Inquiries about the 11th International Seminar, including ideas for sessions, expressions of interest, particular themes to be addressed, and other considerations, should be directed to: