The French Influence on Willa Cather

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Authors
Gervat, Frederick M.
Issue Date
1964
Type
Thesis
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en_US
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Willa Cather
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Abstract
All writers, great and poor, have been influenced by- forces outside themselves. This is only natural, because no man, least of all a writer, lives in a vacuum. He must be influenced to some degree by the sights, sounds and people that surround him from day to day. These influences may take the form of places or events; or they may take the form of other people, or of even another culture. | So it is with Willa Cather. I propose to examine her published work in order to ascertain to what extent, if any, French cultural influences, in their various forms, entered into the spirit and the letter of her work. I propose to investigate the possibility of this influence in two ways: directly, by what she says, either in her own person, or through the mouth of one of her characters; and indirectly, by what others say about her. My criteria for determining whether or not an item is indicative of French influence are based on the following evidence: | 1. Any direct statement she makes concerning France or the French. | 2. Any quotation from French literary or historical sources. | 3. References to ideas or objects definitely French. | 4. The use of the French language. | 5. Obvious parallels between her works (in whole or in part) and some French material that could have suggested ideas. | 6. Any relevant statement made by another person in writing about Miss Cather. | 7. The use of the French people as characters in a work, especially as protagonists.
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Creighton University
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