Fragments of Desire: Cather and the Arts, The 15th International Willa Cather Seminar

June 512, 2015 Red Cloud and Lincoln, Nebraska


“It had come all the way; when men lived in caves, it was there. A vanished race; but along the trails, in the stream, under the spreading cactus, there still glittered in the sun the bits of their frail clay vessels, fragments of their desire.”

— Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark (1915)


Call for Papers

In the centenary year of Cather’s The Song of the Lark, the Willa Cather Foundation (Red Cloud, Nebraska) and the Cather Project (University of NebraskaLincoln) invite paper proposals relating to our theme: “Cather and the Arts.” This will be a seminar based in the two prominent places of Cather’s Nebraska experience —Red Cloud and Lincoln.


The conference will focus on Cather’s engagement with, love of, investment in, and representation of art forms beyond the fiction to which she dedicated herself. We are interested in exploring Cather’s fascinations with performance (music, and especially opera), and the visual arts. Topics for consideration might include: voice and performance; European music/American setting; classical and folk forms of music; the female performer; Cather and image-making; Cather and French art; photography; collecting and exhibiting; craft object and the art object, “high” art and “low” art. Papers with diverse critical and theoretical perspectives are encouraged.


The seminar will open with three days in Red Cloud where participants will stay in motels, bed and breakfasts, or private homes. The second phase of the seminar will be in Lincoln on the University campus. Participants may stay on campus in the dormitories or make arrangements at nearby hotels. Paper presentations will be on campus, along with the keynote speaker and special events. If needed, travel assistance between the two sites will be available (2.5 hours each way).



Seminar Co-Directors

Guy Reynolds, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, [log in to unmask]

Ashley Olson, The Willa Cather Foundation, [log in to unmask]


If you would like to submit a proposal, please email an abstract of 500 words, a cover letter, and brief résumé by February 15, 2015 to Tracy Tucker at [log in to unmask]. If your paper is accepted, you will be notified by April 1, 2015. You will need to submit your final paper by May 1, 2015. Papers should be 1012 pages in length (20 minutes when read). For further information visit and or call the Willa Cather Foundation at 402-746-2653.




Beth Burke

Cather Project Specialist

Andrews Hall, 309

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lincoln, NE  68588-0396


(402) 472-1919

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