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The Professor's House (1925)

de Willa Cather

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MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,621417,952 (3.8)200
INTRODUCED BY A. S. BYATT 'Willa Cather makes a world which is burningly alive, sometimes lovely, often tragic' Helen Dunmore 'She is undoubtedly one of the greatest American writers' Observer On the eve of his move to a new, more desirable residence, Professor Godfrey St Peter finds himself in the shabby study of his former home. Surrounded by the comforting, familiar sights of his past, he surveys his life and the people he has loved: his wife Lillian, his daughters and, above all, Tom Outland, his most outstanding student and once, his son-in-law to be. Enigmatic and courageous - and a tragic victim of the Great War - Tom has remained a source of inspiration to the professor. But he has also left behind him a troubling legacy which has brought betrayal and fracture to the women he loves most . . .… (més)
  1. 10
    Stoner de John Williams (Petroglyph)
    Petroglyph: Both "Stoner" and "The professor's house" deal with a small-town university professor vaguely comfortable with his family life, who fits uneasily in a new life that sorta kinda happened to him while he was focusing on his work. Both present compelling immersions in bittersweet nostalgia and the ever-present sense that life could have gone entirely different (and perhaps it should have).… (més)
  2. 02
    El Sol també s'aixeca de Ernest Hemingway (2below)
    2below: These are both poignant stories about the disruption and disorder that results from not being where we want to be in life and living in denial of that sad truth.
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Es mostren 1-5 de 41 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The protagonist, The Professor, is someone we would normally warm up to quite quickly. He's an expert in his field, his books are celebrated, he still teaches students and he has a wife and two daughters who love him. So far so good. But we immediately meet him when he's being difficult and snapping at people. He's purchased a bigger house with proceeds from his books but he doesn't want to move his home office from a small attic room in the old house. He even goes so far as to rent the old house for a year so he doesn't have to move. It's down hill from there. He is feeling distant from his wife and he doesn't want to interact with his daughters' husbands.

Slowly we get hints of a back story. The Professor had an exceptional student, Tom Outland, who appeared on his doorstep and changed The Professor's world. It takes a while to learn about Tom but the Professor's wife thinks The Professor had hoped that Tom would marry his older daughter and believes that's why The Professor never warmed up to the man his daughter eventually married. Turns out Tom died in WWI and in his will leaves the daughter with the rights to a patent. The new husband turns the patent into a fortune. Yet the fortune leads to problems between the two daughter and even with another Professor who had helped Tom but now felt he was being excluded.

At this point the book focuses on Tom's history before coming to Hamilton and working with The Professor. It's based in New Mexico and the most interesting part of the book. This is where Cather writing truly sings. He's a selfless guy who discovers lost Indian cliff dwellings. He even tries unsuccessfully to get the Smithsonian interested. While he's in DC his partner sells off everything which leads to their splitting up. Throughout this Tom is the nice guy.

Back to the Professor. He finally realizes he happier without anyone, especially his wife and daughters but also his students. He's giving up on everything.

Bottom line, it's hard to recommend a book where the main character wants to go nowhere. I felt the book went nowhere. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Mar 5, 2021 |
I love Willa Cather so I am a little bias...this is a wonderful, simple and complex book. I found this book a little easier than most of Willa Cather's books but loved the opportunity to think about my and life how the choices and our attitude about those choices affect us. ( )
  mcsp | Jan 25, 2021 |
This is the moving story of a man reaching the end of himself. In many ways, it reminded me of Rosshalde. We have a man who has achieved much yet finds that the fruit of his labours does not bring him the deep satisfaction he feels his soul longing for.

Professor, like Rosshalde, ends inconclusively with both men left with choices about how to face their families and their futures. While Rosshalde is laced with tragedy, Professor has a more subtle pathos. It nevertheless deals with the loss of a friend and the longings of a life lived beyond societal trappings.

The book is most notable for its unusual structure. Split into three sections, the first sets up the relationships of the Professor and his young adult family as he leaves the family home for a new house.

While the purpose-built, newly-completed dwelling typifies an ideal, there’s too much reality in the old idiosyncratic house and the interpersonal relationships the family are taking with them.

Stresses are quickly apparent between the Professor and pretty much everyone else. The only relationship that is encased in amber is that of the Professor and Tom, a virtual vagrant who turns out to be an engineering genius and is then killed fighting WW1.

Tom’s story is told in the middle section, a lucid account of herding cattle in New Mexico and discoveries there which create iconic visions of the nation.

The book concludes in a short section with the Professor isolated in the study he keeps in the now otherwise abandoned old home while the rest of the family holiday in Europe. A crisis precipitates a necessity to face his advancing years and choices that he is left with.

This structure is thought by some to be clumsy. I thought it absolutely perfect. It enables you to read the Professor’s life in two very different ways and creates a deeper understanding of his inner tensions than you would have if the novel were chronological. ( )
  arukiyomi | Dec 27, 2020 |
A melancholy, meaningful glimpse at the ones we love and the changes that time brings in our relationships and our perceptions of both others and ourselves. Cather employs an evocative cast of characters and settings (I particularly like the Lake Michigan setting) to bring a rich novel. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
Was absorbed by the story. Enjoyed that not all characters were the caricatures one might expect. ( )
  ReadMeAnother | Sep 22, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Willa Catherautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Byatt, A.S.Introduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Link, Frederick M.Editorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Mitchell, SusanDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Sturman, Sally MaraAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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A turquoise set in silver, wasn't it?. . . Yes, a turquoise set in dull silver."
-Louie Marsellus
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The moving was over and done.
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That night, after he was in bed, St. Peter tried in vain to justify himself in his inevitable refusal. He liked Paris, and he liked Louie. But one couldn't do one's own things in another person's way; selfish or not, that was the truth.
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INTRODUCED BY A. S. BYATT 'Willa Cather makes a world which is burningly alive, sometimes lovely, often tragic' Helen Dunmore 'She is undoubtedly one of the greatest American writers' Observer On the eve of his move to a new, more desirable residence, Professor Godfrey St Peter finds himself in the shabby study of his former home. Surrounded by the comforting, familiar sights of his past, he surveys his life and the people he has loved: his wife Lillian, his daughters and, above all, Tom Outland, his most outstanding student and once, his son-in-law to be. Enigmatic and courageous - and a tragic victim of the Great War - Tom has remained a source of inspiration to the professor. But he has also left behind him a troubling legacy which has brought betrayal and fracture to the women he loves most . . .

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