"In the Kingdom of
art there is no God but one God, and his service is so exacting that there are few men
born of women who are strong enough to take the vows."
"Art, it seems to me, should
simplify. That, indeed, is very nearly the whole of the higher artistic process; finding
what conventions of form and what detail one can do without and yet preserve the spirit of
the wholeso that all that one has suppressed and cut away is there to the reader's
consciousness as much as if it were in type on the page. "
"Whatever is felt upon the page
without being specifically named there--that, we may say, is created."
"There are only two or three human
stories and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened
I. Cather's fiction is more concerned with memory as
the possession of the past than the past per se. Equally, it is more concerned with
remembrance than immediacy.
II. Cather's fiction invokes cyclical motifs -- the seasons,
departure and return, birth-growth-decline-death. She recognizes the importance of a
primitive, mythic sensibility that looks for mystery and beauty in life's most fundamental
III. Emotional resonance is at the heart of her artistic
product. Her fiction is impressionistic in the best sense of the word; it builds its
art around refined sensations and perceptions. She prizes the sympathetic
IV. Cather's characters are deeply relational rather than
self-dependent. Family and friendship nourishes, while romance and lesser social
V. The land is at the heart of the individual and the
community. She has an appreciation for the land in both its cultivated and
uncultivated expressions. Both are in some sense natural.
VI. Spirituality cannot be divorced from physicality and
still be considered healthy. Art and religion order by arising out of the rituals
and rhythms of life. Our capacity for blessedness is yoked to these.
VII. She prizes simplicity of form and expression. She
is Virgilian in her impulses: well-crafted less is fictional more.
VIII. Life is deeply experiential, and human life is
character in action.
IX. For Cather, artists use symbols to tie together time and
eternity. Her stories are meant to be both particular and universal.
X. Art has both a subjective, internal side that stresses
honesty, feeling, emotion, and experience, and an objective, external side that stresses
form, craft, and language.