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My Ántonia Paperback – Oct 21 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; New edition edition (Oct. 21 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486282406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486282404
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Amazon

It seems almost sacrilege to infringe upon a book as soulful and rich as Willa Cather's My Ántonia by offering comment. First published in 1918, and set in Nebraska in the late 19th century, this tale of the spirited daughter of a Bohemian immigrant family planning to farm on the untamed land ("not a country at all but the material out of which countries are made") comes to us through the romantic eyes of Jim Burden. He is, at the time of their meeting, newly orphaned and arriving at his grandparents' neighboring farm on the same night her family strikes out to make good in their new country. Jim chooses the opening words of his recollections deliberately: "I first heard of Ántonia on what seemed to be an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America," and it seems almost certain that readers of Cather's masterpiece will just as easily pinpoint the first time they heard of Ántonia and her world. It seems equally certain that they, too, will remember that moment as one of great light in an otherwise unremarkable trip through the world.

Ántonia, who, even as a grown woman somewhat downtrodden by circumstance and hard work, "had not lost the fire of life," lies at the center of almost every human condition that Cather's novel effortlessly untangles. She represents immigrant struggles with a foreign land and tongue, the restraints on women of the time (with which Cather was very much concerned), the more general desires for love, family, and companionship, and the great capacity for forbearance that marked the earliest settlers on the frontier.

As if all this humanity weren't enough, Cather paints her descriptions of the vastness of nature--the high, red grass, the road that "ran about like a wild thing," the endless wind on the plains--with strokes so vivid as to make us feel in our bones that we've just come in from a walk on that very terrain ourselves. As the story progresses, Jim goes off to the University in Lincoln to study Latin (later moving on to Harvard and eventually staying put on the East Coast in another neat encompassing of a stage in America's development) and learns Virgil's phrase "Optima dies ... prima fugit" that Cather uses as the novel's epigraph. "The best days are the first to flee"--this could be said equally of childhood and the earliest hours of this country in which the open land, much like My Ántonia, was nothing short of a rhapsody in prairie sky blue. --Melanie Rehak --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up--In Jim Burden's accounting of his life with, and without, Antonia Shimerda, listeners are transported to the hardscrabble Nebraska prairie and the rural immigrant experience. When Jim first sees the Shimerda family, immigrants from Bohemia, disembarking from the same train that is taking him West to live with his grandparents, he has no idea the impact they will have on his life. Nostalgically, he remembers the good and bad times they had on their respective farms and creates his portrait of Antonia, an independent and tough survivor. The brief biography of author Willa Cather at the beginning of the CD explains how her life mirrors Antonia's life in many ways, helping listeners understand the context of the story. Patrick Lawlor's rich, fluid voice lends an air of sophistication to Burden, reinforcing the class structure inherent at the beginning of the 20th century. Lawlor's attempts to create voices for the characters often falls flat. Since the novel is Burden's reminiscence, it would have been better told in Burden's voice alone. Since My Antonia continues to be a staple in many English curriculums, this is a good audiobook for schools and public libraries to have available.--Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 30 2009
Format: Paperback
I first read this book when I was in junior high school. I admit that, at the time, I did not appreciate the strengths of the book and the quality of its writing. I am quite glad that I decided to give it another chance, as I now understand why it is considered to be a classic in literature. It is simply a beautifully written book, covering many of the themes that one stumbles across in life and coalescing them into a work of extraordinary breadth.

The book is the story of two young people, Jim Burden and Antonia Shimerda. They meet for the first time when Jim is ten years old and Antonia is fourteen. Recently orphaned, Jim has moved to the Great Prairie to live with his grandparents in Nebraska. Antonia, on the other hand, has been wrenched from her homeland in Bohemia, emigrating with her parents to the United States and finding herself in Nebraska. Jim and Antonia's chance encounter on a train sets the stage for the forging of a friendship and unconditional love that time will not diminish.

The book relates the harshness of immigrant life through the eyes of Jim, who narrates the events contained in the book. There is a relentless stoicism about the book, which is written in spare, clear prose. With intense imagery and descriptive exactitude, late nineteenth century Nebraska comes to life. It also relates the paths that each of the characters choose to follow, as well as the vicissitudes of life that mold and shape them in ways that no one would have imagined.

The focus of the book, which is also a coming of age tale, seems to be on the female characters and their strengths. Consequently, the book has a faintly feminist undercurrent to it, as all the women in it seem to be survivors, despite the hardships that they encounter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By charles torrez on May 2 2002
Format: Paperback
"My Antonia" is about the life of immigrants in our country in the early 1900's, in particular, is Antonia and her family who emigrated from Bohemia. Her family settled in the Nebraska plains where she meets the neighbor's son, Jim Burden. It is Jim who tells the story about Antonia authored by Willa Cather. Here he tells about the life on the farm, after the farm, and how he thinks of her in later life and meets again with here many years later. It is a spell binding adventurous novel about life in the prairie. It brings the characters to life in the way Willa Cather describes them in everyday life.
In this story Jim Burden expresses his feelings about Antonia throughout the book about her beauty as she matures. You get the sense that he is in love with her however, he is unable to confirm his own feelings for her. Eventually, they both move on pursuing their own goals in life, but Jim never forgets Antonia and is able to write a story about her and their childhood together. The emotions flow heavily throughout this piece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lacey on April 29 2002
Format: Paperback
My Antonia, written by Willa Cather, is a powerful and adventurous book. It takes you on a journey through the American vision of modernism. The work invokes a sense of disillusionment with modern society, a feeling of fragmentation and despair at the trends toward industrialization and urbanization. At other times the novel presents an idealized view of a pre-industrialized and still "innocent" society. My Antonia follows the path and offers a vision of the idyllic world of the American West. Cather idealizes the American frontier and depicts it as a perfect alternative to the corrupt world that we now live in. Cather also glorifies the values of independence, hard work, asceticism, as she contrasts it to the isolation and laziness of modern society. This novel is an excellent way of understanding what it would be like if we were not all accustomed to a developed and technologically advanced society. It takes you a few steps back in time, and demonstrates the importance of independence and self-reliability. It shows the developing of a young boy, searching and battling with growing up.
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By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 19 2006
Format: Paperback
I first read this book when I was in junior high school. I admit that, at the time, I did not appreciate the strengths of the book and the quality of its writing. I am quite glad that I decided to give it another chance, as, having re-read it, I now understand why it is considered to be a classic in literature. It is simply a beautifully written book, covering many of the themes that one stumbles across in life and coalescing them into a work of extraordinary breadth.

The book is the story of two young people, Jim Burden and Antonia Shimerda. They meet for the first time when Jim is ten years old and Antonia is fourteen. Recently orphaned, Jim has moved to the Great Prairie to live with his grandparents in Nebraska. Antonia, on the other hand, has been wrenched from her homeland in Bohemia, emigrating with her parents to the United States and finding herself in Nebraska. Jim and Antonia's chance encounter on a train sets the stage for the forging of a friendship and unconditional love that time will not diminish.

The book relates the harshness of immigrant life through the eyes of Jim, who narrates the events contained in the book. There is a relentless stoicism about the book, which is written in spare, clear prose. With intense imagery and descriptive exactitude, late nineteenth century Nebraska comes to life. It also relates the paths that each of the characters choose to follow, as well as the vicissitudes of life that mold and shape them in ways that no one would have imagined.

The focus of the book, which is also a coming of age tale, seems to be on the female characters and their strengths. All the women in it seem to be survivors, despite the hardships that they encounter.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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