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The Professor's House
by Willa Cather

A study in emotional dislocation and renewal--Professor Godfrey St. Peter, a man in his 50's, has achieved what would seem to be remarkable success. When called on to move to a more comfortable home, something in him rebels.





Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (1 of 19), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 09:04 AM I'm hoping that Ann won't mind if I go ahead and start the discussion. I finished it Sunday and wanted to post while it is fresh in my mind. Cather never disappoints me. Her language is deceptively simple and yet she always seems to choose the right word to paint a scene. I don't think that dialogue is her strong point though I don't think it's particularly weak either. What I most love is the way she can paint a scene verbally, her gift for narrative. Though I loved the whole book, Tom Outland's story was probably my favorite part. I could absolutely picture that cliff village and the whole Western scene for that segment. There's one small segment in the beginning that I have to mention. My family is from Nebraska, then transplanted to Indiana. I often reflect now on the midwestern reserve that absolutely does not allow any "self-praise." Mrs. St. Peter asks: "Just when did it begin, Godfrey, in the history of manners--that convention that if a man were pleased with his wife or his house or his success, he shouldn't say so, frankly?" St. Peter answers with a reference to the age of chivalry and ends by saying, "It's a nice idea, reserve about one's deepest feelings; keeps them fresh." To which she replies in part, "And this reserve--it becomes in itself ostentatious, a vain-glorious vanity." Ah yes, Cather absolutely nails both sides of my feelings about it. Barb
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (2 of 19), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 09:33 AM When I first started reading Cather, I found an old memoir in a used book store by a long-time companion of her's, Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant. Sergeant was a writer as well (not just of this memoir) so her insights are particularly interesting to me. She says that when Cather began working on The Professor's House (as yet untitled then), she said that she was basing it on a musical form, that it was a sonata form, starting molto moderato. Sergeant goes on to say, "There were to be three parts, every one with Italian musical nomenclature. These did not appear in the book, and I cannot quote them accurately, but my impression is that the middle book, Tom Outland's story, was to be molto appassionata, as indeed it proved to be in the reading." I don't know enough about music to understand this. I'll email Cathy Hill to come and give us her insight. One other note from Sergeant's memoir, she says that Cather wrote the following in a copy of the book that she presented to Robert Frost: (Note: This is really a story of 'letting go with the heart' but most reviewers seem to consider it an attempt to popularize a system of philosophy) Barb
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (3 of 19), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 02:11 PM Thanks for starting the discussion, Barb. I've been out of town at a family reunion in Arizona. I got back home around 11:00 PM Sunday and somehow managed to be ready to teach a class at 8:00 AM the next day. Needless to say, I'm way behind with just about everything. Maybe I can catch up later. Ann
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (4 of 19), Read 24 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 07:35 PM THE PROFESSOR’S HOUSE is a strange novel. I enjoyed reading it, especially for “Tom Outlands’ Story,” and I love Willa Cather’s sense of honor, her character sketches and her descriptive power, but the book came up shorter than I thought it would and certainly was not up to O PIONEERS! Spoiler alert! Somehow I don’t get the point that Cather is making about the professor’s withdrawal at the end. Or there’s not enough insight for me to draw any real significance from it. The ending seemed anticlimactic. The novel as a whole does not strike me as a classic but Book Two: “Tom Outland’s Story” does. Tom’s discovery of the Anasazi cliff dwellings is absolutely memorable. Robt
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (5 of 19), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 08:09 PM I agree..Tom Outland's diary was just mesmerizing, and I think it's the pivot on which the entire story turns, because architecture represents so very much in this book. I think the Professor loved Tom because he was the type of man Godfrey was before he married Lillian. But, little by little, that part of him he considered to be most honorable, most 'sanctified,' was slowly chiseled away by Lillian's lust for material things. Within the new house, I think he felt he was losing the last tie to the sort of person he believed himself to be underneath all the layers of gentility, culture and possessions his wife fostered upon him. Rosamond's obsession in owning fine things, travelling through Europe, and staying at the finest hotels, was such a contradiction to Tom's values, that I think Godfrey simply could not bear it. Rosamond used that inheritance it a way that was diametrically opposite to everything Tom believed in. And how absurd, knowing what sort of man Tom was, that she and her husband named their mansion 'Outland.' At the end, I think the professor stayed in the house, never to go back to live with his wife. I think his old house became his haven; his cliff dwelling. If he had moved into the new house, he might have felt that his species..those who believed it's wrong to sell out, that there are things that should not have a price tag on them, that beauty should exist for its own sake and not for its monetary value...would become as extinct as those long ago cliff dwellers. Godfrey peeled away all those false layers and found his ideals still there. I don't think he would then cover it all back up by returning to the new house and Lillian. Beej
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (6 of 19), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 08:17 PM Barb, thanks for sharing the info from Sergeant's memoir. I don't know enough about music to understand this 'three parts' stuff, but I loved how Cather laid out this story..first we got the 'players list,' and then the passionate 'catalyst,' so to speak, with Tom's diary, and then we saw the effect of that diary on the players, especially the professor. In the end, the three sections of this story played together just beautifully. Beej
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (7 of 19), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 09:45 PM The first movement in most traditional symphonies is usually in sonata form. The overall structure of this form is three parts. The first part is called the exposition and has two contrasting themes. The second part is called the development and is just that. It takes both themes, interweaves them, breaks them down, builds on them. The third part is called the recapitulation and is a restatement of the exposition, but generally shorter and not necessarily just as it was in the original. The return of themes 1 and 2 usually gives the listener a sense of coming home. I can see how Cather used the three parts of this book to contrast with one another, but the second part doesn’t really seem like a development, it seems like Theme 2. The third part is a kind of coming home, with the Professor back with his young manhood in place. He’s stripped himself of the life he seems to have accrued "by accident." I absolutely loved this book. I liked it better than O, Pioneers, for some reason. I could really see all the characters so very clearly, and even though I liked some better than others, I had a respect for all of them. Even Rosamond, who I think turned out the worse. Even though she ended up with most of the money, she seemed the least happy. She hoarded everything, like she was going to be poor again any minute. I’m not good at articulating why I liked it so much, but it just struck a chord. One question I have, though. At the end of one of the chapters, maybe even at the end of one of the big parts, Kitty alluded to some secret to Scott. What do you think that was about? I was half expecting some revelation in the Tom Outland section that revealed why Tom ran away to war. He really loved Kitty? He was guilty, so he left all his money to Rosamond? I thought all the houses were wonderfully metaphorical. And was Outland outlandish? Sherry
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (8 of 19), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 09:57 PM Sherry, thanks for explaining how this relates to a musical form...it's really interesting, now that I know what Shepley Sergeant meant! I totally missed references to Kitty's secret! I'll go back and see if I can find those references. I loved this book, too. In fact, this might be one of my favorite classics we've read this year. I didn't care for Rosamond at all. I hated the way she turned her nose up at Kitty. But, most of all, I disliked Mrs. St.Peter, and wished Tom had never given her that water jar. So much of this book centers on money..I got about as sick of it as Godfrey did. Beej
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (9 of 19), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 11:05 PM I had forgotten all about Kitty's secret too, Sherry. I was sure her secret was that she was in love with Tom, but I expected something more to be said about it later and I expected it to have some relevance as well. In fact, I thought that the rest of the family would have considerably more of a role in the last part of the book than they did. Lynn
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (10 of 19), Read 25 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 11:15 PM I had no problem with the ending of the book. I think this was the story of one man's quest for personal fulfillment. I think he had slowly but steadfastedly sunken into a mire during his married life, and I don't think he liked who he had become. What's the tie between the cave dwellings and the Professor's old house, tho? i really think Cather intended to draw a parallel with that. Beej
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (11 of 19), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 11:20 PM Did Kitty's secret have something to do with Augusta losing her savings? That's all I can remember regarding a secret; that she wanted the family to give Augusta money on the QT, in order to make up what she had lost. Beej
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (12 of 19), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 01:54 AM Ladies, your posts are wonderful. The book is blooming right out of your observations for my latent understanding to grasp. Once again I am blown away by the power of this group. Robt
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (13 of 19), Read 16 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 08:35 AM Wow, Robert, I agree. Sherry, thanks so much for that information on musical form. Beej, you've really given me something to think about in regards to the connecting themes. In some ways, I did want Cather to develop those lesser characters more. I was interested in Augusta, Scott, Kathleen and the Cranes. Her presentation of them, initially, is skillful and makes me want more. However, I think they were only there to develop the theme. Augusta's loss of her money focuses us on Rosamunde's lack of compassion. If you contrast that with Tom, in his story, they seem almost like two different species. Regarding the last section, Sergeant, in the memoir I referred to earlier, says that Godfrey may have been intended to symbolize heroic failure against odds. He married for love and in middle life, by a sort of right to personal solitude, evades the usual human sense of responsibility to a lifetime relationship. She sees this as representing a profound disillusion about marriage as a solution for exceptional people. Sergeant speculates that St. Peter was eventually condemned to live, if live he must, without passion and without joy. I'm sure this will bring the discussion to the fact that Cather never married but I think you could just as easily read marriage as a longterm, committed relationship of any kind. Personally, I think it had less to do with marriage than what his wife represented. However, by connecting this love of material things with his spouse, Cather made it a force that eroded him on a daily basis. Barb
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (14 of 19), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 08:37 AM And, I also know very little about biblical history. Is there any connection between Peter in the Bible and Cather's St. Peter? Or, is that just a coincidence in names? Barb
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (15 of 19), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 09:33 AM Barb wrote: 'Sergeant speculates that St. Peter was eventually condemned to live, if live he must, without passion and without joy. Oh my gosh, Barb..that's such a powerful thought. How horrible to think his passions could only rest in one place, his ideals or his family...what an awful choice. Beej
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (16 of 19), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 09:37 AM Barb, your question on whether there's a connection between Peter in the Bible and Cather's St. Peter is something I was wondering about, too. I know the biblical St. Peter was the apostle who had the most faith and is the one who was directed to build Christ's house upon a rock. I'm positive there's a tie. Beej
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (17 of 19), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 10:42 AM I read something about this book that I found incredibly interesting. I read that this book, and particularly Tom's journal, is considered by some to be the ultimate fictionalized account of Keats'' 'Ode on a Grecian Urn.' Here's that poem, for reference, and I really think this novel does tie into this poem, and leaves me only a heartbeat away from some understanding of those beautiful and puzzling words, 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' Ode on a Grecian Urn THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both, In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd, Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve; She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; And, happy melodist, unwearièd, For ever piping songs for ever new; More happy love! more happy, happy love! For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd, For ever panting, and for ever young; All breathing human passion far above, That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd, A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. Who are these coming to the sacrifice? To what green altar, O mysterious priest, Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? What little town by river or sea-shore, Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn? And, little town, thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed; Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' Beej
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (18 of 19), Read 9 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 11:39 AM I'm not sure about the Peter connections either, but I do recall that when Jesus points to Peter and says "On this rock will I build my church," it's also a play on words because Peter's name (petros, petras) literally means "rock." >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (19 of 19), Read 9 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 11:49 AM Dale! Now, that's really, REALLY interesting! And it makes me wonder about those cave dwellings, also made out of rock..Maybe Cather is saying Professor St. Peter's real home, his haven made from rock, is within himself. Beej
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (20 of 22), Read 16 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Friday, July 05, 2002 10:52 PM I haven't quite finished this yet, but will tonight. I discovered on my shelf "Willa:The Life of Willa Cather" and I can't wait to delve deeply into it. Here are some interesting notes about TPH...Cather was 52 when she wrote it, the same age as the Professor. The book was never one of her favorites. "A nasty, grim little tale" she called it.She gave the Professor the qualities she admired and had worked to acquire all her life--a cool temperament, reserve, detachment. As a child, she too, "dragged" by her parents to a new place and nearly died from the experience. The insertion of Tom Outland's story in the middle of the novel disturbed some critics. She explained "it was an experiment in form, but that the device for inserting the Nouvelle into the Roman was actually an old one that had been used by early French and Spanish novelists." Although Cather considered this a "despairing" book, she gave to the professor's voice some of her own most affirmative and deeply held beliefs:"A man can do anything if he wishes to enough...Desire is creation, is the magical element in the process." Apparently some of this theme is carried over into her later novel "The Song of the Lark". I may have to try that one next. I find this story is told in a detached manner, yet the characters seem so real and alive. It's as though her writing reflects the era in which she has placed her characters. There's not a lot of excessive emotion or demonstrativeness. Much like how she describes Tom's diary--no unneeded adjective; every word has a purpose. This book was so different from her others. I think I like the others better, but I'm infinitely glad I did not give up on this when I got bogged down early on. There's more food for thought here than I can chew on right now. Anne
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (21 of 22), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, July 07, 2002 10:08 AM Thanks for the information, Anne. I didn't consider this to be a "A nasty, grim little tale" or a "despairing" book until I read your post and realized that there was a lot of Cather, herself, within the character of the professor. I had marveled at Cather's ability to write so well from a man's perspective, but now I see gender has no bearing on it; she simply wrote from the human heart. Beej
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (22 of 22), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Monday, July 08, 2002 01:38 AM After reading perhaps 50 pages I posted my impression of what I had read so far. I felt that there was something wrong with the the whole social interaction of the family. So I thought that this was a major defect of this novel and that Cather failed in her description of an upper-middle class academic family. The professor seemed nice enough and I only sensed a genuine relationship between him and Augusta. Little did I realize that Cather wanted to make a point, namely that the family interaction was artificial and lacked a genuine quality. Deep down the professor was aware of it but was unable to deal with this. Well escaping the family would have been deadly (and this is well illustrated at the end of the novel). Cather is in her element and at her best describing Tom Outland, his life, but especially the environment. When he first enters we meet a genuine, decent and good person. Subsequently he and his friend discover an ancient American Indian Cliff settlement. While in DC trying to get various agencies interest in researching the Indian village and artifacts he became aware of the nature of the bureaucracy and self interest of the officials. He also noted the ante like existence of the innumerable government workers. When he returns to the Mesa and Cliff City he found that his best friend who he had trusted with his life, had let him down for financial gains (Actually because he did not understand the essence their discovery as Tom did). So they broke up in spite of Blake's generosity, leaving him all the money for the sale of the Indian artifacts. After the professor came to terms with Tom's story he increasingly became aware of his own superficial life style. In a way he realized he was actually a colossal failure lacking Tom's genuine and honest quality and toyed with the idea of suicide. When the occasion arose he only got a taste of death. My impression of the ending is that Cather toyed with having the professor die in an accident, but changed her mind and rescued him by means of dear, genuine Augusta. After that Cather is vague about his future life. The professor may have returned to his early genuine self once more but how will he be dealing with his family and the University? So Cather's book contains loose ends and the question of St. Peter will deal with his complex and problematic family. So Tom and Godfries stories are intertwined and they influence each other's life. To my mind this book does not come close to O Pioneers or My Antonia. Just the same it is excellent and I enjoyed reading it. Ernie
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (23 of 28), Read 38 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Jody Richael jodyrichael@cs.com Date: Tuesday, July 09, 2002 05:03 PM I have been out of the loop for a while but am finally joining back in! I actually read TPH back in late May/Early June and have read a few other things since then so I‘m trying to remember the details of TPH. Anyway, I can’t say this is one of my favorite books. Like some of the others, I had a hard time really engaging in this book. I have really enjoyed everyone’s comments and they increase my appreciation for this book (thanks for you comments Beej and Ernie). Like Sherry I also wondered about the secret that was never revealed. That still bugs me! Early in the novel Cather describes the old house much as I think St. Peter’s life could be described although he doesn’t know it yet: something to be “put up with”, “in shambles”, and “not fixable only livable.” Jody
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (24 of 28), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Sunday, July 14, 2002 04:43 PM I finished this a few days ago, and I have enjoyed reading the discussion here. I liked the book very much at the beginning because I enjoy character studies. However, the end left me somewhat dissatisfied because of all the loose ends. Like Sherry, I expected there to be some explanation of Kitty's relationship to Tom since Cather definitely hints that it was significant. I also expected there to be some revelations regarding the St. Peter marriage. They have maintained separate bedrooms for years, and Mrs. St. Peter has become overly interested in the lives of her sons-in-law because she no longer has the attention of her husband. At one point, Mrs. St. Peter says to her husband (p. 78), "One most go on living, Godfrey. But it wasn't the children who came between us." The author continues, "There was something lonely and forgiving in her voice, something that spoke of an old wound, healed and hardened and hopeless." This made me anticipate the eventual revelation of some kind of crisis in their past, which, of course, did not happen. Maybe Cather's version is more true to life. Couples often grow apart very gradually, without suffering any dramatic event that destroys the relationship. On our recent vacation, we went to Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. It has some of the Anasazi Indian dwellings that sound similar to those found by Tom Outland, so that part of the book was very interesting to me. Cather really excels at beautiful descriptions of the landscape.
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (25 of 28), Read 27 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Monday, July 15, 2002 12:31 AM I agree, Ann, that she didn't tie up a lot of loose ends that were presented in the first section. I almost wondered if she decided to go a different direction midway. And, yet, the direction she took fit completely with the way she presented St. Peter initially. What do you think? Barb
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (26 of 28), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Monday, July 15, 2002 04:30 PM Barb, I too felt like Cather might have changed directions midstream. St. Peter seemed like very real to me, so in that sense I would agree that the ending fit him. The one character who did not ring true to me was the rich son-in-law, and I'm not sure why that was. The Outland diary almost seemed like a recyled short story plopped in the middle of the novel. I do enjoy her descriptions of the Southwest. They remind me of Death Comes to the Archbishop. Ann
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (27 of 28), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Tuesday, July 16, 2002 07:44 AM Elizabeth Shipley Sergeant, in that memoir I mentioned in an earlier note, groups The Professor's House with My Mortal Enemy, Death Comes For the Archbishop and Shadows on the Rock. They were all written between 1925 and 1931 in the order I've listed them. She says "...it was clear, even at the time, that a new tide had washed over Willa Cather and left its mark upon her. These works of her fifties have quite another form, dimension, and vibration than have her Nebraska books...The agonizing problem of mortality, the oncoming of death, is always present, and we are led to feel that unusual individuals, like Professor St. Peter and Myra Henshawe (My Mortal Enemy) must wrestle with them alone and single-handed--as, indeed, they must wrestle with the inevitable march of the twentieth century, which is felt as a menace to their moral poise and well-being." I find it interesting to see these novels grouped together. Like you, I like Archbishop better than this one. However, I do think that Sergeant is right, that they have similar themes and it's kind of thought provoking for me to compare them. St. Peter and Father Latour have a similar spiritual sense though St. Peter seems a bit more self-absorbed. I'm also interested that she wrote them in her 50's. Do you remember how old Tolstoy was after Anna Karenina? This searching for spiritual resolution with mortality seems similar. And, in my 50's, I can understand that shift in perception. Barb
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (28 of 28), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Tuesday, July 16, 2002 09:23 AM Barb, I think I read this book at the right time in my life. Since I am also in my fifties, I can understand St. Peter's concerns quite well. I think a large part of St. Peter's problem was that he felt that his life work was pretty much done. He had finished his multi-volume history and didn't seem to have another big project in the works. Since he was a man who had largely dedicated himself to his work, rather than his family, this left a big hole in his life. Ann
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (29 of 34), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Wednesday, July 24, 2002 04:09 PM Barb and Ann, I enjoyed and agreed with your final comments. This book is a true work of art in that it raises questions about the meaning of life and the path we have been following. My thinking was influenced by having just read Ethan Frome by Wharton. It was my grand daughter's assignment in her college English class and we had heated discussion about it. Ethan seemed to have been drifting into a catastrophic life and was unable could not find a way out of his dilemma except suicide as suggested indirectly by Mattie. They both ended up crippled for life. Has our book group ever assigned Ethan Frome? I am sure I had read it before but that is all I can say. Ernie
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (30 of 34), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Thursday, July 25, 2002 07:56 AM I haven't read it, Ernie, but it might have been on the list the first year of CC before I started posting. Your granddaughter must be delighted that she can discuss a book from her class with her grandfather. Barb
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (31 of 34), Read 16 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Thursday, July 25, 2002 01:31 PM Ernie, I don't think we've ever read Ethan Frome here, but we did read Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence. I think we also read The House of Mirth, but I might only have read that one for my local book club. I saw a film version of Ethan Frome on public television which was truly haunting. Liam Neeson, Patricia Arquette, and Joan Allen starred.
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (32 of 34), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, July 25, 2002 01:41 PM Ethan Frome is a real sock-knocker. Ruth
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (33 of 34), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Thursday, July 25, 2002 02:21 PM "Sock-knocker"! I love it, Ruth. Where did that expression come from? Barb
Topic: Discussion: The Professor's House (34 of 34), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, July 25, 2002 02:25 PM From my beady little brain, which thinks cock-eyed on occasion. Ruth

 

 
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