Sounds like an interesting project. Your mention of the cottonwoods in "Old Mrs. Harris" reminds me--as perhaps it already did you--of Cather's frequent discussion of cottonwoods in speeches and interviews in the 1920s, which might give additional context to your discussions of this tree. There is also an early interview where she calls the box elder a "travesty" of a tree. I think these are in Bohlke's book.
The Cather Scholarly Edition notes generally try to give botanical name for likely species for the setting, which may be useful to you for the books you haven't yet done.
And as I recall, some years ago Linnea Frederiksen did a dissertation here at Nebraska on Cather and ecology; I know she focused a lot on trees, so that might be helpful to you.
If you ever find out the reason for the connection between German immigrants and the oleander (perhaps not strictly a tree), which Cather makes between Mrs. Kohler and her tubbed plants, I'd be interested to know.
Editor, Willa Cather Scholarly Edition
Research Associate Professor of English
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0333
From: 5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of James Cody
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 7:18 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [5BANKSTREET] Willa Cather: Under The Spaces of Trees
I've been working on project in blog form for now. It's an offshoot of my Cather dissertation. My objective is to create a concordance of sorts, accumulating and documenting every time Cather refers to or names a tree in her novels. The blog currently has an Intro (the first post), a post for each tree named with mythological references and identifications of each tree, along with posts from each novel with a list of each tree named and page numbers from the paperback additions where the quotes can be found. I have finished with "Death Comes for the Archbishop" and "Shadows on the Rock, "Lucy Gayheart," Sapphira and the Slave Girl," and "O Pioneers." And am more than halfway through "The Song of the Lark."
I was wondering if any of you would be interested in providing feedback, suggestions, etc. Or maybe it would just jog your memory of other trees scenes in Cather that have mattered to you (in rereading "Old Mrs. Harris, for instance, I found it even more interesting now how much resting and contemplating under the cottonwoods is for Vickie). Please share if you feel compelled.
Happy New Year, Everyone.
Jim Cody, D.Litt.
Brookdale Community College
765 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft, NJ 07738
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