Logo for the Program in the History of the Book  in American Culture

Logo for the virtual book talkThe Virtual Book Talk showcases authors of recently published scholarly monographs, digital-equivalents, and creative works broadly related to book history and print culture. Each installment includes an informal presentation from the author and a Q&A with the audience.

These talks are streamed live for registered participants and are recorded for posterity. All previous virtual book talks are available to view on the AAS YouTube channel. Talks typically last 45 minutes to one hour. For more information, contact Kevin Wisniewski, Director of Book History and Digital Initiatives at kwisniewski@mwa.org.

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The Only Wonderful Things:
The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather & Edith Lewis

with Melissa J. Homestead

Thursday, June 24, 2021 2 pm EDT

Approx. 45 minutes

This program is free but requires advanced registration.

The American Antiquarian Society is hosting a virtual book talk with Melissa J. Homestead, author of The Only Wonderful Things: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather & Edith Lewis.

What would Willa Cather's widely read and cherished novels have looked like if she had never met magazine editor and copywriter Edith Lewis? In this groundbreaking book on Cather's relationship with her life partner, author Melissa J. Homestead counters the established portrayal of Cather as a solitary genius and reassesses the role that Lewis, who has so far been rendered largely invisible by scholars, played in shaping Cather's work. Inviting Lewis to share the spotlight alongside this pivotal American writer, Homestead argues that Lewis was not just Cather's companion but also her close literary collaborator and editor.

Drawing on an array of previously unpublished sources, Homestead skillfully reconstructs Cather and Lewis's life together, from their time in New York City to their travels in the American Southwest that formed the basis of the novels The Professor's House and Death Comes for the Archbishop. After Cather's death and in the midst of the Cold War panic over homosexuality, the story of her life with Edith Lewis could not be told, but by telling it now, Homestead offers a refreshing take on lesbian life in early twentieth-century America.

Melissa J. Homestead is Professor of English and Program Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she also directs the Cather Project and serves as Associate Editor of The Complete Letters of Willa Cather: A Digital Edition. Her work on The Only Wonderful Things: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather and Edith Lewis was supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Her first book, American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822-1869 (Cambridge University Press 2005), was supported by a Mellon Post-Dissertation Fellowship at the AAS. She maintains an active research agenda in nineteenth-century American women’s authorship and publishing history and is president of the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society.

Order this book directly from the publisher at oup.com

Melissa Homestead



2021 Schedule

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