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WILLA CATHER ON HEROES AND HERO-WORSHIP

Patricia Lee Yongue
Neuphilologische Mitteilungen
Vol. 79, No. 1 (1978), pp. 59-66
Published by: Modern Language Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43343174
Page Count: 8
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WILLA CATHER ON HEROES AND HERO-WORSHIP
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Abstract

One of the several possible allusive contexts of Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927) which inform the dynamics of that novel is furnished by Carlyle's On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History. Though Cather swerves from the format of Carlyle's work, she extracts from it his sense of history and of the men who make history, and she creates her own Hero/Hero Worshiper relationship between Jean Latour and Joseph Vaillant, at the same time that she develops, almost allegorically, the bond between artist Hero and Heroic non-artist responsible for the ordering and, thus, redemption of history. The artist's quintessential nature and function is illustrated in Latour, while that of the heroic Ordinary Man is represented by Vaillant. Latour's perception is of the whole, the timeless, the circle; Vaillant's is of the parts, the temporal, the line. Embracing "for the past — for the future," they establish a point of intersection, of love, of redemption.

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