Cather, Willa Siebert (1873–1947) By Gano, Geneva M.
Willa Cather was a major U.S. novelist active in the early twentieth century. Cather claimed a wide audience of admirers, including literary critics, writers and artists, and popular readers. Her relationship to modernism, however, is a contested one. Her reverence for the European masters of high culture, her tendency to look ‘backwards’ rather than to the future, and her simple, ‘unfurnished’ style distance her work philosophically and aesthetically from some of the most iconic modernist writers in the Western tradition. However, it must be remembered that modernism developed differentially across time and space; this insight allows us to see Cather as an important representative of the emergence of early modernism within the United States.