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Approaches to Teaching Cather's My Ántonia

Editor(s): Susan J. Rosowski

Pages: xii & 194 pp.
Published: 1989
ISBN: 9780873525206 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873525190 (hardcover)

"A useful resource both for instructors using Cather's Nebraska novel for the first time and for those who seek a fresh perspective. Edited by Susan J. Rosowski, a widely recognized Cather scholar and professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, this volume explores the many ways to 'get at' one of the most frequently taught Cather novels.... The quality of this collection is consistently high."
Journal of the West

Unlike many other great works of English literature, My Ántonia is immediately accessible to today's students. "Cather's novel is so clear," Susan J. Rosowski says, "so apparently effortless, that it hardly seems art at all, and the challenge for instructors is to move their students beyond a surface reading to an understanding of the novel's art and its place in literary history." Yet few instructors have had training in fields relating to Cather studies. The aim of this collection of essays, then, is to provide background and ideas instructors have found most helpful in teaching My Ántonia.

This volume, like others in the MLA's Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, is divided into two parts. The first part, "Materials," reviews required and recommended student reading, reference works, background studies, and critical commentary. In the second part, "Approaches," twenty-five teachers share their strategies for presenting the novel in the classroom; their essays are arranged in four sections that focus on Cather's life and times, the novel's literary and philosophical traditions, teaching the novel in particular courses, and, finally, exploring specific aspects of the novel.

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching Cather's My Ántonia

Susan J. Rosowski


Required and Recommended Student Reading
Other Writings by Cather
Biographical Studies
The Instructor's Library
Reference Works
General Background
Biographical Studies
Critical Commentary

Aids to Teaching


Teaching the Life and Times

Immigrant Backgrounds to My Ántonia: "A Curious Social Situation in Black Hawk"
Sally Allen McNall

Willa Cather's Nebraska
Robert W. Cherny

The Making and Reception of My Ántonia
James Woodress

The People, the Place, and the Times: A Lexicon for My Ántonia
Philip L. Gerber

Teaching the Literary and Philosophical Traditions

My Ántonia as Pastoral
David Stouck

My Ántonia as Plains Epic
Paul A. Olson

The Romanticism of My Ántonia: Every Reader's Story
Susan J. Rosowski

The Place of My Ántonia in Women's Literary Traditions
Josephine Donovan

Biblical and Religious Dimensions of My Ántonia
John J. Murphy

William James, Henri Bergson, and Remembered Time in My Ántonia
Loretta Wasserman

Teaching Specific Courses

My Ántonia in a Survey of the American Novel
Tom Quirk

My Ántonia in Women's Studies: Pioneer Women and Men--The Myth and the Reality
Mary Anne Ferguson

My Ántonia in American Studies: History, Landscape, and Memory
Barbara Bair

My Ántonia in the Freshman Writing Class
Jennifer Bradley

Teaching My Ántonia to Adults: An Interdisciplinary Approach in a Community College
Constance Mierendorf

Teaching My Ántonia as a Plains Novel
Robert Thacker

Teaching My Ántonia to Non-English Majors from Spanish-Speaking Homes
James L. Evans

Teaching Specific Aspects

Art and Apparent Artlessness: Self-Reflexivity in My Ántonia
Blanche H. Gelfant

My Ántonia as Double Bildungsroman
Charlotte Goodman

Gender, Sexuality, and Point of View: Teaching My Ántonia from a Feminist Perspective
Sharon O'Brien

Jim Burden: A Rare Modern
Glen A. Love

The Doctrine of the Open Road in My Ántonia
Paul Comeau

Kindling the Imagination: The Inset Stories of My Ántonia
Michael Peterman

Teaching the Illustrations to My Ántonia
Jean Schwind

The Functional Beauty of Style in My Ántonia
Stephen Tatum

Works Consulted


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