5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars


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Mark Madigan <[log in to unmask]>
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5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 12:56:46 -0400
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To the 5 Bank Street Community:

As Andy wrote eloquently last week, David Porter will be dearly missed by
the Cather community. For a man who had achieved so much as a scholar,
musician, and college president, he was an extraordinarily humble man. In
conversation, he was always more interested in talking about what projects
you were working on, what was happening in your  life, than talking about
himself. How poignant it was, then, to see David's letter below, which
appeared in the latest *New York Times Book Review*. I know I speak for
many in saying that I am grateful for having known David Porter and for the
gift of his scholarship on Willa Cather

Mark Madigan

*On Broadway*

To the Editor:

Ada Calhoun’s review of Olivia Laing’s “The Lonely City: Adventures in the
Art of Being Alone”
20) brought back my teenage encounter with New York City. During the
summers of the ’50s my parents would head to Connecticut for the weekends,
leaving me in charge of the cat and the apartment. I’d practice the piano
until I was weary or frustrated, then head for a local bookstore or movie
theater, but mainly I’d relish simply having the city to myself. I’d walk
down Broadway to the New Asia Restaurant at 112th Street, where for 85
cents I could have shrimp with lobster sauce. After dinner I’d continue
down Broadway enjoying the people I saw and the diverse neighborhoods
through which I passed.

A few years later at Swarthmore College, when I read the Satire where
Horace describes his daily delight in walking the streets of Rome, savoring
their myriad fascinations, it all felt very familiar: “Quacumque libido est /
incedo solus,” he begins: “Wherever I please, I go alone.”