I'm Shirley Griffith. And I'm Tony Riggs with People in America. Today we tell about writer Willa Cather.
The second half of the nineteenth century brought major changes to the United States. From its earliest days, America had been an agricultural society. But after the end of the Civil War in eighteen sixty-five, the country became increasingly industrial. And as the population grew, America became less unified.
After railroads linked the Atlantic coast with the Pacific coast, the huge Middle West of the country was open to settlement. The people who came were almost all from Europe. There were Swedes and Norwegians, Poles and Russians, Bohemians and Germans.
Many of them failed in their new home. Some fled back to their old homeland. But those who suffered through the freezing winters and the burning summers and the failed crops became the new pioneers. They were the men and women celebrated by the American writer Willa Cather.
Cather's best stories are about these pioneers. She told what they sought and what they gained. She wrote of their difficult relations with those who followed. And she developed a way of writing, both beautiful and simple, that made her a pioneer, too.
For many women in the nineteenth century, writing novels was just one of the things they did. For Willa Cather, writing was her life.
Willa Cather was born in the southern state of Virginia in eighteen seventy-three. At the age of eight, her family moved to the new state of Nebraska in the Middle West. She and Nebraska grew up together.
Willa lived in the small town of Red Cloud. As a child she showed writing ability. And, she was helped by good teachers, who were uncommon in the new frontier states.
Few women of her time went to a university. Willa Cather, however, went to the University of Nebraska. She wrote for the university literary magazine, among her other activities. She graduated from the university in eighteen ninety-five.
Most American writers of her time looked to the eastern United States as the cultural center of the country. It was a place where exciting things were possible. It was an escape from the flatness of the land and culture of the Middle West.
From eighteen ninety-six to nineteen-oh-one Cather worked for the Pittsburgh Daily Leader newspaper. It was in Pennsylvania, not New York, but it was farther east than Nebraska.
Cather began to publish stories and poems in nineteen hundred. And she became an English teacher in nineteen-oh-one. For five years, she taught English at Pittsburgh Central High School and at nearby Allegheny High School.
She published her first book in nineteen-oh-three. It was a book of poetry. Two years later she published a book of stories called "The Troll Garden."
The owner of a New York magazine, S.S. McLure, read her stories. He asked her to come to New York City and work as an editor at McLure's Magazine. She was finally in the cultural capital of the country. She stayed with the magazine from nineteen-oh-six to nineteen twelve.
One of the people who influenced her to leave the magazine was the American woman writer, Sarah Orne Jewett. Jewett advised Cather to write only fiction and to deal with the places and characters she knew best. Jewett said it was the only way to write anything that would last.
In nineteen twelve Willa Cather published her first novel, "Alexander's Bridge." By that time, Cather had enough faith in herself to leave magazine work and use all her time to write fiction. She remembered Jewett's advice and turned to the land and people she knew best, the farmers of the Middle West.
In Red Cloud she had lived among Bohemians, French-Canadians, Germans, Scandinavians, and other immigrants. She saw that the mixture of all these new Americans produced a new society.
"There was nothing but land," she wrote. "Not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made." It was this material she used to create her books.
Like all good writers, she wanted her novels to show the world she described, not just tell about it. Later in her life, she described the way she wrote. She called it "novels without furniture." What she meant was that she removed from her novels everything that was not necessary to tell the story. Fiction in the nineteenth century was filled with social detail. It had pages of description and comments by the author. Cather did not write this way. She looked to the past for her ideas, but she drew from the present for her art.
A year after "Alexander's Bridge," Cather published her second novel. It was the first of her books to take place in the Middle West. It is called "O Pioneers." It established her as one of the best writers of her time.
"O Pioneers" tells the story of the first small groups of Bohemians, Czechs, French, Russians, and Swedes who set about to conquer the land. Cather said they acted as if they were a natural force, as strong or stronger than nature. She said they were people who owned the land for a little while because they loved it.
"Spring, summer, autumn, winter, spring," Cather wrote. "Always the same field...trees...lives."
Cather's heroes are pioneers, settlers of unknown or unclaimed land. They also are pioneers of the human spirit.
They are, Cather said, the people who would dream great railroads across the continent. Yet she saw something more in them. It was something permanent within a world of continuous change. A sense of order in what appeared to be disorder.
In Cather's mind, her writings about the Middle West, her prairie years, became a way to show approval of the victory of traditional values against countless difficulties. The fight to remain human and in love with life in spite of everything gives the people in her stories purpose and calm.
Willa Cather continued to write about these new pioneers in "The Song of the Lark" in nineteen fifteen. She followed that with the novel that many consider her best, "My Antonia."
By the nineteen twenties, however, her stories began to change. She saw more defeats, fewer victories. She began to write -- not about great dreams -- but about the smallness of man's vision. She mourned for the loss of values others would never miss.
Willa Cather never married. She began living with another woman from Nebraska in nineteen-oh-eight. They lived together until Cather died.
In nineteen twenty-two, Cather suffered a nervous breakdown. A number of things caused her condition. Her health was not good. She was unhappy with her publisher. And, she was angry about the changes in society brought by new technology.
In nineteen twenty-three, Cather wrote the last of her Nebraska novels, "A Lost Lady." Two years later she produced another novel, "The Professor's House." It was clear by then that she was moving in a different direction.
Willa CatherHer next two novels, "Death Comes for the Archbishop," and "Shadows in the Rock," take place in the distant past. They are stories about heroic failure. "Death Comes for the Archbishop" takes place in the American Southwest in the sixteenth century. It describes the experiences of two priests who are sent to what became New Mexico. The action is in the past. But the place is one that Cather felt always would remain the same -- the deserts of the American Southwest.
Where her earlier books described a person's search for solid ground, these books describe the solid ground itself. They came from a deep unhappiness with modern life.
Although Cather turned away from modern life, she was very much a modern writer. Her writing became increasingly important to a new group of writers -- Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Dos Passos.
Near the end of her life she wrote: "Nothing really matters but living. Get all you can out of it. I am an old woman, and I know. Sometimes people disappoint us. And sometimes we disappoint ourselves. But the thing is to go right on living."
Willa Cather went right on living until the age of seventy-four. She died in nineteen forty-seven.
How do you think we should deal with this?
We were filled with hope, with passion, with dreams for the future.
We insist on your leaving the place before any further disturbances take place.
4.in spite of尽管；不管
The age of barbarism will return, in spite of railways, telegraphs and balloons.
5.turn away from避开；厌恶
This also indicates that we have to proceed toward the good and turn away from bad.
That evening he set about writing a report on pollution.
19世纪下半叶，美国发生了重大的变化 。从早期开始，美国就是一个农业社会 。但是在1865年美国内战结束后，美国变得越来越工业化 。随着人口增长，美国变得不那么统一了 。
在连接大西洋海岸和太平洋海岸的铁路建成后，美国中西部的广大地区开始向移民开放 。来这里的人几乎都来自欧洲 。有瑞典人和挪威人，波兰人和俄国人，波希米亚人和德国人 。
他们中的许多人在他们的新家失败了 。一些人逃回了他们的故土 。但是那些经历了严冬酷暑和歉收的人们成为了新的拓荒者 。他们就是美国作家薇拉·凯瑟所歌颂的男男女女 。
凯瑟最好的故事是关于这些拓荒者的 。他讲述了他们的追求和收获 。她描写了他们与后来的人之间的艰难关系 。她发展了一种美丽而又简单的写作方式，这也使她成为了一个拓荒者 。对于19世纪的许多女性来说，写小说只是她们做的事情之一 。对于凯瑟来说，写作就是她的生活 。
薇拉·凯瑟于1873年出生于弗吉尼亚州的南部 。八岁时，她全家搬到了中西部的内布拉斯加州 。她和内布拉斯加州一起长大 。
薇拉住在红云镇 。她小时候就显示出写作能力 。而且，她得到了优秀教师的帮助，这些教师在新边疆各州并不常见 。
那时，很少有女性能上大学 。但是薇拉·凯瑟去到了内布拉斯加州大学 。除了其他活动，她还为大学文学杂志撰稿 。她于1895年从大学毕业 。
她那个时代的大多数美国作家都把美国东部看作是这个国家的文化中心 。这是一个能让人兴奋的地方 。这是对中西部平坦的土地和文化的一种摆脱 。
1896年至1901年，凯瑟为《匹兹堡日报》工作 。它在宾夕法尼亚，而不是纽约，但它比内布拉斯加州更靠东 。
1900年凯瑟开始出版故事和诗歌 。1901年，她成为了一名英语老师 。她在匹兹堡中心高中和附近的阿勒格尼高中教了五年英语 。
1903年，凯瑟出版了她的第一本书 。这本书是一本诗集 。两年后，她出版了一本名为《精灵花园》的故事书 。
一家纽约杂志的老板S·S·麦克卢尔读了她的故事 。他邀请她来纽约，在麦克卢尔的杂志社做编辑 。凯瑟终于到了这个国家的文化之都 。她从1906年到1912年一直在这家杂志工作 。
影响她离开该杂志社的人物之一是美国女性作家萨拉·奥恩·朱厄特 。朱厄特建议凯瑟只写小说，写作她最了解的地方和人物 。朱厄特表示，只有这样才能写出经久不衰的作品 。
1912年，薇拉·凯瑟出版了她的第一部小说《亚历山大之桥》 。那时，凯瑟对自己有足够的信心离开杂志社，把所有的时间都用来写小说 。她想起了朱厄特的建议，转向了她最了解的土地和人民，中西部的农民 。
在红云镇，她曾与波西米亚人、法裔加拿大人、德国人、斯堪的纳维亚人和其他移民生活在一起 。她看到所有这些新美国人的结合产生了一个新社会 。
她写道，“除了土地什么都没有 。根本不是一个国家，而是组成国家的材料 。”她就是用这种材料创作她的书的 。
就像所有的好作家一样，凯瑟想让她的小说展示她描述的世界，而不仅仅是讲述它 。后来，她描述了自己写作的方式 。她称之为“没有家具的小说” 。她的意思是，她去除了一切讲故事不需要的东西 。19世纪的小说充满了社会细节 。它有大篇的作者的描述和评论 。凯瑟没有以这种方式写作 。她从过去中寻找灵感，但她从现在中为艺术汲取灵感 。
《亚历山大之桥》出版一年后，凯瑟出版了她的第二部小说 。这是她第一本发生在中西部的故事的书 。书名为《拓荒者》 。这本书使她成为当时最好的作家之一 。
《拓荒者》讲述了第一批开始征服这片土地的波西米亚人、捷克人、法国人、俄罗斯人和瑞典人的故事 。凯瑟表示，他们就像是一股自然力量，像自然一样强大，或者比自然更加强大 。她表示，他们就是拥有这个土地一段时间的人，因为他们爱它 。
“春，夏，秋，冬，春，”凯瑟写道 。“总是同一片土地，树木，生命 。”凯瑟的英雄是拓荒者，是未知或无人认领土地的定居者 。他们也是人类精神的拓荒者 。
凯瑟说，他们是会梦想有横贯大陆的铁路的人们 。但是，她在他们中看到了更多东西 。那是在一个不断变化的世界中的永恒的东西 。在看似混乱的事物中的一种秩序感 。
在凯瑟的心中，她的关于中西部的作品，她的草原时光，成为了一种表达对传统价值观战胜无数困难的肯定的方式 。不管任何事情发生，为了保持任性和热爱生活进行的抗争给了她故事中人物目标和平静 。
1915年的作品《云雀之歌》中，薇拉·凯瑟继续讲述这些拓荒者的故事 。她在被许多人认为是她最好的小说《我的安东尼娅》中继续讲述他们的故事 。
但是，在20世纪20年代，她的故事开始改变 。她看到更多的失败，更少的胜利 。她不再写伟大的梦想了，他开始写人类视野的渺小 。她为别人永远不会错过的价值观的丧失而哀悼 。
薇拉·凯瑟终身未婚 。1908年，她开始和另外一名来自内布拉斯加的女性一块生活 。他们住在一起直到凯瑟去世 。
1922年，凯瑟遭遇了精神崩溃，原因有很多 。她的健康状况不好 。她对她的出版商不满意 。而且她对于新技术带来的社会变化感到愤怒 。
1923年，凯瑟写了她最后一本关于内布拉斯加的小说《一个迷途女人》 。两年后，她创作了另一本小说《教授的住宅》 。很明显，那时她的写作转变到了一个不同的方向 。
她接下来的两部小说《大主教之死》和《岩石中的阴影》发生在遥远的过去 。他们是关于英雄失败的故事 。《大主教之死》的故事发生在16世纪的美国西南部 。它讲述了两位被送到如今的新墨西哥州的两位牧师的经历的故事 。故事发生在过去 。但是故事发生在凯瑟认为总是一样的地方-美国西南部的沙漠 。
她早期的书描写了找寻坚实土地的人的故事，而这些书则描写了坚实的土地本身 。他们来自对现代生活的极其不满 。
尽管凯瑟远离现代生活，但是她是一名很现代的作家 。她的作品对一些新的作家越来越重要-海明威，菲兹杰拉德还有约翰·多斯·帕索斯 。
在生命快结束的时候，她写道：“除了生活，没有什么是重要的 。尽你所能去生活 。我是一位老女人，我知道 。有时候人们会让我们失望 。有时候我们会让自己失望 。但问题是要继续生活下去 。”
薇拉·凯瑟一直活到74岁 。她于1947年去世 。