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39 Works of Willa Cather

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Two very shabby looking young men stood at the corner of Prairie Avenue and Eightieth Street, looking despondently at the carriages that whirled by. It was Christmas Eve, and the streets were full of vehicles; florists’ wagons, grocers’ carts and carriages. The streets were in that half-liquid, half-congealed condition peculiar to the streets of Chicago […]

The Bohemian Girl

Story type: Literature

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I The transcontinental express swung along the windings of the Sand River Valley, and in the rear seat of the observation car a young man sat greatly at his ease, not in the least discomfited by the fierce sunlight which beat in upon his brown face and neck and strong back. There was a look […]

On the Divide

Story type: Literature

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Near Rattlesnake Creek, on the side of a little draw, stood Canute’s shanty. North, east, south, stretched the level Nebraska plain of long rust-red grass that undulated constantly in the wind. To the west the ground was broken and rough, and a narrow strip of timber wound along the turbid, muddy little stream that had […]

I heard this story sitting on the rear platform of an accommodation freight that crawled along through the brown, sun-dried wilderness between Grover Station and Cheyenne. The narrator was "Terrapin" Rodgers, who had been a classmate of mine at Princeton, and who was then cashier in the B—— railroad office at Cheyenne. Rodgers was an […]

On the Gulls’ Road

Story type: Literature

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I It often happens that one or another of my friends stops before a red chalk drawing in my study and asks me where I ever found so lovely a creature. I have never told the story of that picture to any one, and the beautiful woman on the wall, until yesterday, in all these […]

Jack-a-Boy

Story type: Literature

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I am quite unable to say just why we were all so fond of him, or how he came to mean so much in our lives. He was just a little boy of six, a trifle girlish in his ways, and, as a rule, I do not like effeminate boys. Moreover, he was precocious, and […]

Lou, the Prophet

Story type: Literature

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It had been a very trying summer to every one, and most of all to Lou. He had been in the West for seven years, but he had never quite gotten over his homesickness for Denmark. Among the northern people who emigrate to the great west, only the children and the old people ever long […]

Neighbour Rosicky

Story type: Literature

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I When Doctor Burleigh told neighbour Rosicky he had a bad heart, Rosicky protested. “So? No, I guess my heart was always pretty good. I got a little asthma, maybe. Just a awful short breath when I was pitchin’ hay last summer, dat’s all.” “Well, now, Rosicky, if you know more about it than I […]

Paul’s Case

Story type: Literature

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It was Paul’s afternoon to appear before the faculty of the Pittsburgh High School to account for his various misdemeanours. He had been suspended a week ago, and his father had called at the Principal’s office and confessed his perplexity about his son. Paul entered the faculty room suave and smiling. His clothes were a […]

The Enchanted Bluff

Story type: Literature

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We had our swim before sundown, and while we were cooking our supper the oblique rays of light made a dazzling glare on the white sand about us. The translucent red ball itself sank behind the brown stretches of corn field as we sat down to eat, and the warm layer of air that had […]

A Gold Slipper

Story type: Literature

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Marshall McKann followed his wife and her friend Mrs. Post down the aisle and up the steps to the stage of the Carnegie Music Hall with an ill-concealed feeling of grievance. Heaven knew he never went to concerts, and to be mounted upon the stage in this fashion, as if he were a “highbrow” from […]

Scandal

Story type: Literature

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Kitty Ayrshire had a cold, a persistent inflammation of the vocal cords which defied the throat specialist. Week after week her name was posted at the Opera, and week after week it was canceled, and the name of one of her rivals was substituted. For nearly two months she had been deprived of everything she […]

The Diamond Mine

Story type: Literature

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I I first became aware that Cressida Garnet was on board when I saw young men with cameras going up to the boat deck. In that exposed spot she was good-naturedly posing for them–amid fluttering lavender scarfs–wearing a most unseaworthy hat, her broad, vigorous face wreathed in smiles. She was too much an American not […]

Coming, Aphrodite!

Story type: Literature

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I Don Hedger had lived for four years on the top floor of an old house on the south side of Washington Square, and nobody had ever disturbed him. He occupied one big room with no outside exposure except on the north, where he had built in a many-paned studio window that looked upon a […]

One is sometimes asked about the “obstacles” that confront young writers who are trying to do good work. I should say the greatest obstacles that writers today have to get over, are the dazzling journalistic successes of twenty years ago, stories that surprised and delighted by their sharp photographic detail and that were really nothing […]

It was, I think, in the spring of ’94 that a slender, narrow-chested fellow in a shabby grey suit, with a soft felt hat pulled low over his eyes, sauntered into the office of the managing editor of the Nebraska State Journal and introduced himself as Stephen Crane. He stated that he was going to […]

Frank Norris

Story type: Essay

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A new and a great book has been written. The name of it is “McTeague, a Story of San Francisco,” and the man who wrote it is Mr. Frank Norris. The great presses of the country go on year after year grinding out commonplace books, just as each generation goes on busily reproducing its own […]

Stephen Crane

Story type: Essay

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“WAR IS KIND.” Stephen Crane. $2.50. New York: F. A. Stokes & Co. Pittsburg: J. R. Weldin & Co. This truly remarkable book is printed on dirty gray blotting paper, on each page of which is a mere dot of print over a large I of vacancy. There are seldom more than ten lines on […]

Kate Chopin

Story type: Essay

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“THE AWAKENING.” Kate Chopin. $1.25. Chicago: H. S. Stone & Co. Pittsburg: J. R. Weldin & Co. A Creole “Bovary” is this little novel of Miss Chopin’s. Not that the heroine is a creole exactly, or that Miss Chopin is a Flaubert–save the mark!–but the theme is similar to that which occupied Flaubert. There was, […]

Harold Frederic

Story type: Essay

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“THE MARKET-PLACE.” Harold Frederic. $1.50. New York: F. A. Stokes & Co. Pittsburg: J. R. Weldin & Co. Unusual interest is attached to the posthumous work of that great man whose career ended so prematurely and so tragically. The story is a study in the ethics and purposes of money-getting, in the romantic element in […]

Henry James

Story type: Essay

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Their mania for careless and hasty work is not confined to the lesser men. Howells and Hardy have gone with the crowd. Now that Stevenson is dead I can think of but one English speaking author who is really keeping his self-respect and sticking for perfection. Of course I refer to that mighty master of […]

Walt Whitman

Story type: Essay

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Speaking of monuments reminds one that there is more talk about a monument to Walt Whitman, “the good, gray poet.” Just why the adjective good is always applied to Whitman it is difficult to discover, probably because people who could not understand him at all took it for granted that he meant well. If ever […]

Edgar Allan Poe

Story type: Essay

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My tantalized spirit Here blandly reposes, Forgetting, or never Regretting its roses, Its old agitations Of myrtles and roses. For now, while so quietly Lying, it fancies A holier odor About it, of pansies– A rosemary odor Commingled with pansies. With rue and the beautiful Puritan pansies. –Edgar Allan Poe. The Shakespeare society of New […]

Mark Twain

Story type: Essay

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If there is anything which should make an American sick and disgusted at the literary taste of his country, and almost swerve his allegiance to his flag it is that controversy between Mark Twain and Max O’Rell, in which the Frenchman proves himself a wit and a gentleman and the American shows himself little short […]

Her Boss

Story type: Literature

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Paul Wanning opened the front door of his house in Orange, closed it softly behind him, and stood looking about the hall as he drew off his gloves. Nothing was changed there since last night, and yet he stood gazing about him with an interest which a long-married man does not often feel in his […]

Ardessa

Story type: Literature

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The grand-mannered old man who sat at a desk in the reception-room of “The Outcry” offices to receive visitors and incidentally to keep the time-book of the employees, looked up as Miss Devine entered at ten minutes past ten and condescendingly wished him good morning. He bowed profoundly as she minced past his desk, and […]

The Bookkeeper’s Wife

Story type: Literature

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Nobody but the janitor was stirring about the offices of the Remsen Paper Company, and still Percy Bixby sat at his desk, crouched on his high stool and staring out at the tops of the tall buildings flushed with the winter sunset, at the hundreds of windows, so many rectangles of white electric light, flashing […]

The Consequences

Story type: Literature

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Henry Eastman, a lawyer, aged forty, was standing beside the Flatiron building in a driving November rainstorm, signaling frantically for a taxi. It was six-thirty, and everything on wheels was engaged. The streets were in confusion about him, the sky was in turmoil above him, and the Flatiron building, which seemed about to blow down, […]

The Joy Of Nelly Deane

Story type: Literature

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Nell and I were almost ready to go on for the last act of “Queen Esther,” and we had for the moment got rid of our three patient dressers, Mrs. Dow, Mrs. Freeze, and Mrs. Spinny. Nell was peering over my shoulder into the little cracked looking-glass that Mrs. Dow had taken from its nail […]

The Namesake

Story type: Literature

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Seven of us, students, sat one evening in Hartwell’s studio on the Boulevard St. Michel. We were all fellow-countrymen; one from New Hampshire, one from Colorado, another from Nevada, several from the farm lands of the Middle West, and I myself from California. Lyon Hartwell, though born abroad, was simply, as every one knew, “from […]

It takes a strong woman to make any sort of success of living in the West, and Hester undoubtedly was that. When people spoke of William Tavener as the most prosperous farmer in McPherson County, they usually added that his wife was a “good manager.” She was an executive woman, quick of tongue and something […]

Peter

Story type: Literature

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“No, Antone, I have told thee many times, no, thou shalt not sell it until I am gone.” “But I need money; what good is that old fiddle to thee? The very crows laugh at thee when thou art trying to play. Thy hand trembles so thou canst scarce hold the bow. Thou shalt go […]

It was a great night at the Lone Star schoolhouse–a night when the Spirit was present with power and when God was very near to man. So it seemed to Asa Skinner, servant of God and Free Gospeller. The schoolhouse was crowded with the saved and sanctified, robust men and women, trembling and quailing before […]

A group of the townspeople stood on the station siding of a little Kansas town, awaiting the coming of the night train, which was already twenty minutes overdue. The snow had fallen thick over everything; in the pale starlight the line of bluffs across the wide, white meadows south of the town made soft, smoke- […]

Flavia and Her Artists

Story type: Literature

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As the train neared Tarrytown, Imogen Willard began to wonder why she had consented to be one of Flavia’s house party at all. She had not felt enthusiastic about it since leaving the city, and was experiencing a prolonged ebb of purpose, a current of chilling indecision, under which she vainly sought for the motive […]

"A Death in the Desert"

Story type: Literature

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Everett Hilgarde was conscious that the man in the seat across the aisle was looking at him intently. He was a large, florid man, wore a conspicuous diamond solitaire upon his third finger, and Everett judged him to be a traveling salesman of some sort. He had the air of an adaptable fellow who had […]

The Garden Lodge

Story type: Literature

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When Caroline Noble’s friends learned that Raymond d’Esquerre was to spend a month at her place on the Sound before he sailed to fill his engagement for the London opera season, they considered it another striking instance of the perversity of things. That the month was May, and the most mild and florescent of all […]

The Marriage of Phaedra

Story type: Literature

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The sequence of events was such that MacMaster did not make his pilgrimage to Hugh Treffinger’s studio until three years after that painter’s death. MacMaster was himself a painter, an American of the Gallicized type, who spent his winters in New York, his summers in Paris, and no inconsiderable amount of time on the broad […]

A Wagner Matinee

Story type: Literature

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I received one morning a letter, written in pale ink on glassy, blue-lined notepaper, and bearing the postmark of a little Nebraska village. This communication, worn and rubbed, looking as though it had been carried for some days in a coat pocket that was none too clean, was from my Uncle Howard and informed me […]