Chasing Bright Medusas: A Life of Willa Cather


Product Details

$29.00  $26.97
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.3 X 1.0 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Benjamin Taylor received a 2021 Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His memoir Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth was published by Penguin Books in 2020. His previous memoir, The Hue and Cry at Our House: A Year Remembered, received the 2017 Los Angeles Times-Christopher Isherwood Prize and was named a New York Times Editors' Choice. His Proust: The Search was named a Best Book of 2015 by Thomas Mallon in The New York Times Book Review and Robert McCrum in The Observer. Taylor is a past fellow and current trustee of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and serves as president of the Edward F. Albee Foundation.


"It offers a thoughtful analysis of her work and makes a case for its relevance today." -- New York Times (Fall Preview)

". . . [A] solid critical biography . . . It's a strong overview of Cather's bibliography that's as concise as her best novels." --Publishers Weekly

"Taylor's deep reading and extensive knowledge of Cather's work, from her poetry, letters, and stories to her classic novels, allows him to fluidly and expertly use quotations from Cather's writings to illuminate her experiences and evolution. ... Taylor's stunning achievement should similarly renew enthusiasm for Cather." -- Booklist (Starred Review)

"...Taylor provides a remarkably revealing account of the life and creative output of Willa Cather...Taylor's connection of Cather's personal life and her literary inventions is consistently astute, and the exuberant force of her imagination emerges vividly...the author presents a rewarding and perceptive portrait, providing a valuable assessment of Cather's intriguing character and the enduring importance of her oeuvre. Keen, insightful commentary on a literary master." ."--Kirkus Reviews

"Willa Cather 'was her own raw material, ' Benjamin Taylor tells us in his sober, elegant, and compact life of his heroine. Taylor's graceful insight and wit, alive in every sentence, pay tribute to Cather's style and to the truthfulness of her vision. Chasing Bright Medusas is a love letter from one writer to another, offering an intimate, inside view of the living art." -- Rosanna Warren, author of Max Jacob: A Life in Art and Letters

"Chasing Bright Medusas is a loving appreciation of Willa Cather's belated genius, her sense of who she was, and the writer she was destined to be--strong in execution, simple, and sure. This book is a graceful portrait of an unusual woman, a passionate humanist who bucked the trends of the times."
-- Brenda Wineapple, author of The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation

"From what he calls 'a debt of love, ' Benjamin Taylor has produced a swift, sure-footed, immensely pleasurable biography. His Cather is at once an adamant antimodernist and an intrepid experimenter, an idealist of America and a chronicler of its darknesses. His passionate readings make clear that she is, above all, one of our greatest writers." - Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness

"Willa Cather was a great American writer. She was also a formidable and complicated woman. Benjamin Taylor knows just when to assert, when to question, and when to suggest. His elegant biography cuts away the clutter. He brings a storyteller's breadth and a critic's precision to Cather's life and art." - Margo Jefferson, author of Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir