Youth and the Bright Medusa
by Willa Cather
In 1920 Willa Cather collected eight of the stories she had written over the past twenty years into "Youth and the Bright Medusa," stories of the ... Show synopsis In 1920 Willa Cather collected eight of the stories she had written over the past twenty years into "Youth and the Bright Medusa," stories of the perilous pursuit of the bright medusa of art in a hostile, materialistic world. These include some of her best tales: "Coming, Aphrodite!" focuses on a dedicated painter and his affair with a singer in pursuit of celebrity; "Paul's Case" and "A Wagner Matinee" tell of a young man and an old woman with artistic longings crushed by their environments; "The Sculptor's Funeral" and "The Diamond Mine" show the high costs of success. The historical essay and explanatory notes trace the composition of the stories and their roots in the people, events, and places Cather knew, from her family to world-famous sopranos, from Nebraska and Wyoming to New York and Pittsburgh, with new information on the sources for "Paul's Case." Historical photographs, including a hitherto unknown portrait of the prototype for Paul, show people and places as Cather knew them. The textual essay and apparatus explore the versions that appeared in her lifetime, from first magazine publication to the final collected edition of her works--and describe how the magazine version of "Coming, Aphrodite!" was censored by the editors, even to the title.