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Death Comes for the Archbishop By Willa Cather Death Comes for the Archbishop There is something epic and almost mythic about this sparsely beautiful novel by Willa Cather although the story it tells is that of a single human life lived simply in the silence of the desert In
  • Title: Death Comes for the Archbishop
  • Author: Willa Cather
  • ISBN: 9780679728894
  • Page: 309
  • Format: Paperback
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop By Willa Cather There is something epic and almost mythic about this sparsely beautiful novel by Willa Cather, although the story it tells is that of a single human life, lived simply in the silence of the desert In 1851 Father Jean Marie Latour comes as the Apostolic Vicar to New Mexico What he finds is a vast territory of red hills and tortuous arroyos, American by law but Mexican andThere is something epic and almost mythic about this sparsely beautiful novel by Willa Cather, although the story it tells is that of a single human life, lived simply in the silence of the desert In 1851 Father Jean Marie Latour comes as the Apostolic Vicar to New Mexico What he finds is a vast territory of red hills and tortuous arroyos, American by law but Mexican and Indian in custom and belief In the almost forty years that follow, Latour spreads his faith in the only way he knows gently, although he must contend with an unforgiving landscape, derelict and sometimes openly rebellious priests, and his own loneliness One of these events Cather gives us an indelible vision of life unfolding in a place where time itself seems suspended.
    Death Comes for the Archbishop By Willa Cather

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      Willa Cather

    About "Willa Cather"

    1. Willa Cather

      Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley Gore , Virginia, in December 7, 1873 Her novels on frontier life brought her to national recognition In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, One of Ours 1922 , set during World War I She grew up in Virginia and Nebraska She then attended the University of Nebraska, initially planning to become a physician, but after writing an article for the Nebraska State Journal, she became a regular contributor to this journal Because of this, she changed her major and graduated with a bachelor s degree in English After graduation in 1894, she worked in Pittsburgh as writer for various publications and as a school teacher for approximately 13 years, thereafter moving to New York City for the remainder of her life She traveled widely and often spent summers in New Brunswick, Canada In later life, she experienced much negative criticism for her conservative politics and became reclusive, burning some of her letters and personal papers, including her last manuscript She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1943 In 1944, Cather received the gold medal for fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, an award given once a decade for an author s total accomplishments She died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 73 in New York City.

    199 thoughts on “Death Comes for the Archbishop”

    1. Oh my God This is beautiful I m only halfway through it but I don t care how it ends every chapter is so complete in itself, every word such unmitigated pleasure that I would be stunned absolutely floored if Cather somehow fumbled the ball in the next 150 pages This is it The work of a writer with nothing to prove A writer so humble, her words so transparent, that she seems to disappear behind the curtain of the text, her elegant shadow barely visible in its folds At age twenty, hearing Nina Sim [...]


    2. But in the Old World he found himself homesick for the New It was a feeling he could not explain a feeling that old age did not weigh so heavily upon a man in New Mexico as in the Puy de Dome In New Mexico he always awoke a young man not until he rose and began to shave did he realize that he was growing older His first consciousness was a sense of the light dry wind blowing in through the windows, with the fragrance of hot sun and sage brush and sweet clover a wind that made one s body feel lig [...]


    3. Two young French priests newly out of the seminary, in France, where they first met, destined to become bishops of the Catholic Church, in the New World , one an Archbishop became close friends until death struck Jean Marie Latour Jean Baptiste Lamy, the original Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico and Joseph Vaillant Joseph Projectus Machebeuf, Denver, Colorado s, first bishop recruited by the Irish born bishop from Cincinnati, Ohio for missionary work in America, where only a relatively few Cat [...]


    4. Highlight here is the incredible depiction of two missionaries who undertake the megaharsh task of converting the Navajos of New Mexico to Catholicism It describes what happens when a new policy, or way of life, is instilled into people who are far away from the Old World There are little vignettes of savagery, of holy manifestation including a very succinct telling of San Diego and his visitation from the Virgin Mary , of hypocrites of course , etc It is a vivid book, full of life imagination T [...]



    5. I m glad I didn t know Kit Carson would be a character in Death Comes for the Archbishop if I had, I might never have opened the book Indeed, a weight of glumness descended on me as I realized the entire narrative would take place in New Mexico Territory, between the years 1851 1888 I foresaw dust, and tumbleweed clumps, unrestrainedly tumbling through bleak moonlike terrain These things hold little allure for me they re why I don t watch westerns And it s true, the novel is filled with descript [...]


    6. Coming to the end of this book was like a sad farewell to some very good friends Father Joseph, Father Letour, their many friends and acquaintances who built solid and strong relationships with them over the years, and their country Oh my Their beautiful country.Father Joseph and Father Letour, both originally from France, were sent to the land of New Mexico shortly after it had been annexed They were young men whose mission was to bring spiritual counsel and comfort to the people of this New Wo [...]


    7. Late 1800 s and The Catholic Church sends two priests to reawaken the lessening faith in New Mexico and eventually other territories Every chapter tackles a new story, a different priest, and the lives they are living in the different missions Some had quite an opulent lifestyle, some had children and some had amassed a great deal of money The descriptions of the landscape are masterfully done, and the distance between them that the Bishop had to travel was awe inspiring, especially on mule A fe [...]


    8. Although I have read this book before, that was long enough ago that this was essentially like reading the book for the first time.I believe this is the fifth of Cather s books that I have read this both the first and the most recent and confirms my appreciation for her skills in presenting the landscapes of the American West, the developing American way of life as it pushes west, and the varying and various peoples who lived on and from the land Cather had mentioned the canyons of the Southwest [...]


    9. Michael Dirda has an essay in Classics for Pleasure on Willa Cather that focuses on this book That and the gentle prodding of two GR Friends convinced me to give this author another chance I had been traumatized in a high school English class reading My Antonia and had never quite recovered I don t blame my teacher I wasn t forced to read the book except insofar as he gave us a list of great American literature and told us to choose a book and write a paper on it As the crusader knight in Indian [...]


    10. Rating 5 of fiveThis book is a survivor Closing in on 90 years after its initial appearance, it s still on must read lists For a good reason It s a neither fish not fowl book As a history, it s a good novel as a novel, it s fascinating history Enough fiction was larded onto the flesh of New Mexico s post annexation history to make this a tasty roast.Like a roast, it s served in slices, as the stories of Latour Lamy s progress in creating the Archdiocese of New Mexico are too numerous to tell eac [...]


    11. 3.5 5Once before he had been carried out of the body thus to a place far away He had turned a corner and come upon an old woman with a basket of yellow flowers sprays of yellow sending out a honey sweet perfume Mimosa but before he could think of the name he was overcome by a feeling of place, was dropped, cassock and all, into a garden in the south of France where he had been sent one winter in his childhoodIt s rare these days in reading that I ll come across a childhood thought or form, espec [...]


    12. What can I say about this book It was beautiful, it was peaceful, it was perfect A book I will re read periodically, when I need to leave the world behind.There is no real plot other than the lives of two French priests who come to Santa Fe in 1850 to create a Catholic mission to serve the Indians and Mexicans Father LaTour and Father Vaillant will be riding their mules in my head forever, spreading kindness.Beautiful, peaceful, perfect.


    13. The Verdict It is an excellent piece of literature Instantly, it has become one of my personal favourites meaning it would be read by me for many times in the future In short, I will carry it with me as long as I have the ability and sanity to read and understand.An Introduction This book is about two pioneering French missionaries and their missions in New Mexico The novel is based on the true life stories of Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy, the first Archbishop of Santa Fe and his companion, Jo [...]


    14. This book was so amazing well written Willa Cather is at her best here Each chapter was like a painting than just words on a page Beautiful and evocative setting of the southwest The relationship between Bishop Latour and Father Vaillant, beginning when they were young men headed to seminary, slowly evolves along with their faith in God Catholicism is beside the point here until death comes for them both The Mexican peoples and native American tribes are wonderfully portrayed, one aches at the [...]


    15. Bach almost persuades me to be a Christian, Virginia Woolf quotes the painter and art critic Roger Fry, the subject of her tender biographical work, as saying Willa Cather s Death Comes for the Archbishop nearly did the same for me in regards to the Roman Catholic Church an organization so bilious, corrupted, and scandal ridden these days it would take a miracle for them to make a proselyte out of me Indeed, Death Comes for the Archbishop is a sort of miracle Nine short chapters of uncluttered p [...]


    16. 1851 Central New Mexico Catholic priests Indians Mexicans The story of the Catholic Church in this new American territory The friendship between two priests who leave their native, beloved France to become the church leaders in the new territory with the remote Santa Fe as their destination.It feels good to open a book that was written in the 1800s and listen to the voices of the people who populated that part of history Their long forgotten tales open brand new and fresh before our very eyes It [...]


    17. Death Comes For the Archbishop is a book that appears to be about almost nothing but is really about a lot.The novel addresses the lives of two French missionary priests in the American southwest They travel, establish churches, get a little older, part, meet, part again, and talk through the nuances of their faith and expanding roles in the Catholic church among Mexicans and Native Americans with wildly different perspectives of faith but respect for good men I like how Cather avoids what can b [...]


    18. Beautiful, scenic my fave bits were the descriptions of the SW landscape and the hints that Cather gives us of how hard that life was for the two RC missionaries who head out to save the souls there But what it didn t give me which is what I like in my priestly books is an intimate view of either their struggle with their faith or their devotion to it when challenged.Cather teased me with the stuff that I wanted to know much about the relocation and slaughter of the Navajos and the Church s com [...]



    19. Early in life, a young Frenchman knows he will become a Catholic priest He meets another man in seminary, they become fast friends and go to Paris to prepare to establish the Catholic church in the New World The two go initially to Ohio, but ten years later are called to build a diocese in the newly acquired territory of New Mexico It is then when they both discover where they are supposed to be and what truly they are supposed to do in life That early decision leads to places and relationships [...]


    20. Death Comes for the Archbishop is a beautiful story, beautifully told Suffused with the color of the desert Southwest, unusually or surprisingly respectful of the indigenous populations of New Mexico in the 1800s both Native American and Mexican , and very Roman Catholic in its sympathies In spite of its heavily religious themes and imagery, this is a very good story and well worth the reader s time The book I finished just before starting this classic was Christopher Hitchens God Is Not Great a [...]



    21. 4.5 solid stars Death Comes for the Archbishop is a quick read in which Willa Cather writes in lyrical prose and renders descriptions that conjure up the Southwest as clearly as a painting by Georgia O Keefe The plain was there, under one s feet, but what one saw when one looked about was that brilliant blue world of stinging air and moving cloud Even the mountains were mere anthills under it Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world but here the earth was the floor of the sky She sweeps us int [...]


    22. I have heard there is a tremendously moving death scene near as would be expected the end of this book Though I am of the firm conviction that one should live until one dies I cannot apply this principle, by analogy, to my own reading of this book I doubt very seriously I can finish it I am nearly 200 pages in and I still have no idea who Father Latour is He is little than a cypher on mule back who only slightly intrigues All I know of him is that he will eventually die It is possible this lack [...]


    23. Although it took me awhile to read this, I enjoyed it, especially the beautiful portrayal of the great plains landscape in that period I found the Bohemian immigrant tale interesting in light of a known friend from bohemia in Missouri The lack of sexual feeling for either Lena or Antonia in the growing Jim was a gap but considering this was writtern by a lesbian shouldn t be a surprise This was essentially a coming of age story of unrequited love, and the idyllic Eden in the great plains was som [...]


    24. I loved this story, and I can t exactly pinpoint why It is so lovely and lyrical Maybe it s because I live only a 5 hour drive from Santa Fe where the story is centered So I know this landscape that Cather so beautifully described as I have driven through it often Or possibly it s the two priests who laid claim to my heart as men I wish I could know They are brave and kind, compassionate and devout, loving and stalwart Their love of the church is matched only in their devotion to each other and [...]


    25. My favorite by Cather read this aloud when we did our family Grand Circle trip, especially the part in New Mexico Such a gentle, quiet story I know that my children were not touched by it as I am was, but I m still glad they know about it It is a fictionalized account of the real life of the first archbishop of the western territory, a simple, saintly man who lived his faith without fuss or fanfare The book is actually soothing to read, but I think it takes a certain maturity to fully appreciate [...]


    26. Jesuit priests come to New Mexico in the 1800 s to proselytise and to build a cathedral in the desert landscape No, it doesn t sound promising, does it But to my happy surprise reading this as a college freshman, and one who favored SF over historical fiction I fell in love with the two Jesuit priests in this book, and their mules Not only that, the way Cather writes about the New Mexican landscape made me fall in love with the desert Here, the land is one of the characters Just wonderful.


    27. One of my favorite things about keeping track and reviewing the books I ve read is that doing so pushes me to read things out of my comfort zone It makes me want to tackle the classics Much often than I used to, I pick up a work of non fiction a genre I used to happily skip over In other words, I m much aware of what I read and a lot choosy.Death Comes For The Archbishop is a book I chose because it is a classic Willa Catha s name was mentioned somewhere, and I gritted my teeth in the knowled [...]


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