The Bohemian Problem: A Sociological and Literary Examination of Willa Cather’s Fraught Relationship with Czech Culture
By K.E. Daft '19
ENGL-425: Seminar in Literary Studies
Each year I teach the senior seminar, I challenge students to make an original contribution to Cather criticism, not merely parroting what other scholars have said, but staking out their own territory: remedying inaccurate or partial representations of Cather’s fiction in earlier scholarship and offering a substantially new reading of one or two of her novels or stories. K.E. situates themself clearly within existing discourse and reveals surprising gaps in previous readings of Cather. K.E. tackles one of the most accepted pillars of Cather criticism: that Cather was a great champion of Czech culture in her work. I’ll admit that I found K.E.’s hypothesis absurd when they first proposed it, but I think they have marshalled some very compelling evidence for their ground-breaking thesis.
Willa Cather has been hailed, for decades, as an advocate for Bohemian culture. Many of Cather’s novels and short stories feature immigrants and their struggle for self-actualization in a foreign climate, and Bohemian immigrants are not excluded from these literary portraits. As news writers of Cather’s time noted, the inclusion of Bohemian characters in Cather’s published work was uncommon for her era: “The Russians or the Norwegians might have selected such a woman and such a struggle for the subject of a story [My Ántonia], but there are few Americans who would have ventured to do so” (Peattie). Cather herself played no small role in perpetuating the image of herself as a proponent for immigrants, writing in an anonymously-published 1926 biography that “Willa Cather did not go to school. She had a pony and spent her time riding about the country and getting acquainted with the neighbors, whose foreign speech and customs she found intensely interesting” (Cather qtd. in Porter 17).1 One particularly bold newspaper writer even went so far as to suggest that Annie Pavelka – the prototype for Ántonia Shimerda in My Ántonia – was someone with whom Cather was “more than half in love,” indicating that Cather may have found Bohemians and their culture more than merely “interesting” (Rowse).
Despite Cather’s proclaimed interest in Bohemian culture, though, Cather’s literary representations of the immigrants she claimed to love often fall short of adulation, and into the realm of blatant stereotyping – especially with regard to the beloved Bohemian characters in My Ántonia, who are frequently portrayed as animalistic, infantile, and rash. In consideration of these portrayals, a problem arises regarding how to interpret these flawed characters in relation to Cather’s supposed respect for Czech immigrants and their culture.
In recent years, the implicit criticism of Cather inherent in such statements has been warned against by scholars such as Joan Acocella, who writes, “Is this the most important question we can ask artists of the past: whether their politics agree with ours? The idea that people from societies widely different from one’s own should be regarded with respect did not come in until Montaigne and was probably not shared by more than a few eccentrics and intellectuals…until the rise of anthropology,” insinuating that any critique of Cather’s prejudices is irrelevant to her published work (67). Critics closer to Cather’s own time, too, held similar convictions. Theatre critic Brooks Atkinson, for example, wrote that some scholars’s contentions with Willa Cather’s work were “based on the assumption that she should have had a total vision of life—without blind-spots, prejudices, or crochets. This is asking for the impossible; if it were possible, it would eliminate the tone and color of art” (Atkinson). Where my argument differs from those criticized by Acocella and Atkinson is that what I am asking for is not impossible. I am not attempting to ‘take Cather to task’ for holding prejudices common among her contemporaries; I am merely intending to resolve a discrepancy in her accepted biography, and to circulate the awareness that Cather’s ‘revolutionary’ attitudes regarding Bohemians did not instantaneously appear with her first published story, nor culminate with the publication of My Ántonia. In fact, though Cather’s earlier works fall incredibly short of demonstrating this social consciousness, Cather herself proved, in her later work, that she was capable of having this “total vision of life.”
I. Historical Context
Before moving into analysis of Cather’s textual representations of Bohemian culture, it is first necessary to contextualize her cultural and racial biases within the framework of the prevailing sociological and anthropological attitudes about Bohemians during the early 20th century. After all, it is only through this contextualization that one can determine the extent to which Cather and her work adhere to or diverge from her contemporaries’s attitudes toward Czech immigrants.
In modern sociological discussion, debate continues about the appropriate way to categorize Czech immigrant status in the mid-1900s, with factions arguing that Bohemians were considered anything from white to nonwhite to an inferior white race to something “murky” in between these categorizations (Fox and Guglielmo 328). Regardless of the divergence in scholarly opinion regarding the color status of Bohemians, though, it is generally agreed upon by sociological scholars that even though a “bright social boundary” – defined by Fox and Guglielmo as “widely recognized, widely institutionalized, and monumentally significant” – distinguished Northwestern European immigrants (i.e. Swedes or Norwegians) from Southeastern European immigrants (i.e. Bohemians) in the 20th century, no discernible racial boundary existed between Southeastern European immigrants and whites (331, 342).
This is not to say, though, that biases against Bohemian immigrants were nonexistent – during this era, it was possible to be both ‘white,’ and still ‘racially inferior,’ due to the competing statuses of color classification and racial hierarchy (Fox and Guglielmo 334). As Fox and Guglielmo note:
There is evidence, to be sure, of individuals, and even an occasional institution, challenging SEEs’ [Southeastern European immigrants’] categorization as white: explicitly calling them or treating them as not white or not fully white; describing them as “swarthy,” “dark,” and “dark complected”; and comparing them to blacks and Asians… [But] most striking is how rarely any Americans–individually or institutionally–ever placed SEEs beyond the boundaries of whiteness. (343, emphasis added)
Thus, Bohemian immigrants – considered white by all mainstream American academics of the 20th century – experienced racial discrimination due to their status as a “lesser” white race, but rarely were placed beyond the boundaries of whiteness during the era in which Cather lived.
What does this mean for Cather’s work, then? As it was not common practice to make color-based distinctions between Northwestern European immigrants and Southeastern European immigrants, Cather’s insistence upon establishing a bright boundary between Bohemians and whites through her repeated references to Bohemians’s “dark” or “brown” skin (especially in texts like My Ántonia and O Pioneers!) was, in fact, uncommon for her time; not reflective of the actions and attitudes of her contemporaries. Therefore, it is not possible to attribute this short-sidedness, as Mike Fischer suggests, to the “cultural limitations” of Cather’s era (qtd. in Laegreid 102).
In spite of this, many literary scholars are quick to defend Cather when accusations of her cultural insensitivity toward Bohemians arise. Tim Prchal, in fact, takes a more positive view of Cather’s work than Fischer in his article, “The Bohemian Paradox: My Ántonia and Popular Images of Czech Immigrants,” going so far as to say that “positioning Cather with other writers who contributed to the popular image of Czech immigrants reveals that she did not outright contradict this image so much as mold it into a more favorable form,” suggesting not only that Cather was not subject to these “cultural limitations” Fischer claims, but beyond them entirely (4). In his article, Prchal attempts to make this point through the inclusion of a racially charged article by Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant published in a 1910 issue of McClure’s, during the time in which Cather was an editor for the magazine. The column reads:
During the last thirty years seventeen millions of foreigners have poured into our midst from central and southern Europe and Asia Minor: Italians, Hebrews, Poles, Russians, Bohemians, Rumanians, Greeks, Syrians, and many other races – most of them, except in the case of the Hebrews, passive, inarticulate, and illiterate, agriculturists by inheritance. These people differ fundamentally from the more intelligent and efficient Northern races that preceded them hither before 1880 – the English, Scotch, Irish, Germans, and Scandinavians, who, as we know, not only made their fortunes in our cities, but dared to become also the hardy and successful settlers of our distant Western plains. (Sergeant, qtd. in Prchal 6)
Prchal does not use this excerpt, though, as evidence that Cather may also have held prejudiced attitudes toward these racial groups. In fact, he writes against this notion, arguing, “It is tempting to speculate about how [Cather] might have reacted to Sergeant’s inclusion of Czechs with the races of supposedly passive, illiterate farmers standing in stark contrast to those bright and capable Scandinavians and other groups who tamed the plains” (Prchal 6). Further, he interprets the publication of My Ántonia as an indirect response to the content of Sergeant’s article; written not to reinforce negative associations with Bohemian identity, but to reshape them (Prchal). In his limited argument, however, Prchal neglects to consider how Jim Burden’s characterization of Ántonia and the Shimerdas so often reinforces this pattern of simplifying and stereotyping Bohemian identity, and thus the ways this text falls short of subverting, or even positively altering such attitudes.
Prchal’s position, however, is understandable, and hardly unique: Cather has been considered an advocate for Czech immigrants for years, and it is true – as Peattie notes – that other writers during Cather’s time period neglected to include Bohemians in their work, with virtually none making Bohemians the main subject of a novel, as Cather did with My Ántonia. What scholars like Prchal (and writers like Peattie) fail to take into consideration, though, in their reflections on Cather’s work, are the ways in which Cather was not only providing visibility for Bohemian immigrants, but negatively reshaping the discourse about their identity. This negative reformation takes, in Cather’s work, the form of reinforcing or creating stereotypes about Bohemians such as the categorization of Bohemians as reckless drunkards, hot-headed lovers, and even as infantile and animalistic individuals.
The best that can be said of Cather’s early depictions, then, is that they aligned with her contemporaries’ negative ideology of difference, as demonstrated in Sergeant’s article. Despite Cather’s presumed intentions to elevate Bohemians and their culture, the reality of her literary constructions is still negative.
II. The Hot-Headed, Unfaithful, and Alcoholic: Bohemian Typecasting in “The Diamond Mine” and O Pioneers!
My Ántonia, as Cather’s perhaps best-loved Bohemian-centered novel, would seem a logical place to begin a critique of her Czech portrayals; however, to gain a complete understanding of Cather’s complicated relationship with the Bohemian characters she depicts, it is essential to analyze the development of these portrayals not only across the length of My Ántonia, but within the complex framework of Cather’s other published novels and short fiction.
The first thread within this framework of Czech immigrant mistreatment is undoubtedly Cather’s 1916 story, “The Diamond Mine,” wherein the stereotype of Bohemians as fickle lovers initially surfaces. The only Bohemian character in this story, Blasius Bouchalka, is described as being “a tall, gaunt young man, big-boned and rugged, in skin-tight clothes. His high forehead had a kind of luminous pallor and his hair was jet black and somewhat stringy” with a “deeply lined forehead” and “red under-lip” (91, 95, 96). In this description, the most exaggerated portrait any character in the story is given, Bouchalka takes on caricatured attributes which indicate to the reader that Bouchalka is not to be taken seriously: either as a character or as a prospective match for Cressida Garnet.
This idea is further exemplified by descriptions of Bouchalka as “flighty and perverse,” and reaches consummation later on in the story, when the narrator reveals that Bouchalka was caught in sexual congress with Cressida’s maid, Ruzenka (112).3 Bouchalka, then, embodies two of the most prominent stereotypes of Bohemian immigrants: he is an alcoholic, and an impulsive lover incapable of fidelity.4 To add injury upon insult, Bouchalka is additionally described as having “the desperation which the tamest animals exhibit when they are tortured or terrorized” and calls himself a “mongrel man” – moments of animalization which, in conjunction with discussion of Bohemian dehumanization in My Ántonia, take on additional significance (110, 114). Taken alone, these instances hardly constitute a case against Cather’s reputation for celebrating Bohemian culture; however, when one views the depictions of characters like Bouchalka within the context of Cather’s entire series of fiction, it becomes one of the “two or three human stories…repeating themselves”; one instance in a larger pattern of Bohemian misrepresentation (Cather O Pioneers! 110).
In Cather’s longer works, negative Bohemian stereotypes surface in the second of her “first novels,” O Pioneers!, with the character of Marie. Much like Bouchalka, Marie struggles to be faithful to her husband, Frank, telling Alexandra: “The trouble is you almost have to marry a man before you can find out the sort of wife he needs, and usually it’s exactly the sort you are not. Then what are you going to do about it?,” and suggesting that her marriage was doomed by its temerarious nature (178). To compensate for her lack of satisfaction with her hurried match, Marie pursues an ill-fated relationship with Alexandra’s brother Emil. In the novel’s climactic fourth section, Marie’s husband Frank – always the type to jump rashly into action, be it marriage or murder – finds the two lovers entangled beneath the white mulberry tree and, in a burst of rage, kills both, “[knowing] that he had murdered somebody…but [not realizing] before that it was his wife” (236). The problematic nature of this passage is two-fold: Frank is presented as jealous and brutish, yet also as lacking the foresight to determine who he was killing before the deed was done. As Frank himself notes in the moments prior to killing Marie and Emil, “The woman lying in the shadow might so easily be one of the Bergson’s farm-girls”; yet, in order to fulfill the Czech stereotype laid out for him by Cather, Frank acts incongruously with his thoughts in this sequence, killing a woman whose identity he cannot ascertain, for a reason he only later becomes aware of (235).
This section from O Pioneers! does more than affirm Frank’s hot-headedness, though; it also establishes what will be made explicitly known to the reader later on: Marie has ‘corrupted’ Emil. In a scene near the conclusion of the novel, Alexandra visits Frank Shabata in the penitentiary, and the notion of Marie’s corrupting influence is established when Frank remarks, “You know, I most forgit dat woman’s name. She ain’t got no name for me no more. I never hate my wife, but dat woman what make me do dat – Honest to God, but I hate her!…I not care how many men she take under dat tree. I not care for not’ing but dat fine boy I kill, Alexandra Bergson,” placing the whole of the blame on Marie for her tryst with Emil, and exonerating Alexandra’s brother for his transgression (262). Though Emil was equally responsible for the affair, neither character in this scene demonstrates awareness of this fact. Alexandra, for her own part, “blamed Marie bitterly. And why, with her happy, affectionate nature, should [Marie] have brought destruction and sorrow to all who had loved her…?” reinforcing the suggestion that Emil, as a wholesome, Northeastern European immigrant must have been less at fault than Marie, a tempestuous, Southeastern European immigrant (263). Laegreid argues this same point in her article “The Good, The Bad, and the Ignored: Immigrants in Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!,” insisting that this skewing of blame is due to Bohemian settlers’ classification in the “bad immigrant” category: “Emil…had been exposed to Bohemians, a less civilized group of immigrants. He had let their exotic ways blind him…predictably, tragedy ensued” (110). Though socially-conscious modern readers may recognize that Marie was not wholly at fault for the events which transpired, Cather’s indictment of Marie through the perspective of the most rational character in her novel reveals her implicit bias against Bohemians, suggesting that Cather may not have been as forward-looking as some scholars would purport.
III. My Ántonia and the Culmination of Cather’s Prejudiced Portrayals
This pattern of Czech stereotyping, contrary to popular belief, was not rectified with the publication of My Ántonia; rather, this novel demonstrates the culmination of these prejudices. Throughout My Ántonia, Cather – by means of her narrator Jim – characterizes Ántonia and her family in increasingly demeaning ways, most commonly through dehumanizing depictions of Ántonia as a prey animal. The first instance of this dehumanization arrives in Jim’s first encounter with Ántonia, where he remarks that she “sprang up like a hare”; however, this is a thread which is traceable throughout the novel (Cather 26). The most scathing comparison Jim undertakes comes during his recollection of Ántonia’s tenure with the Harling family. Jealous of Ántonia’s affection for Charley Harling, Jim characterizes Ántonia as “padding about after Charley, fairly panting with eagerness to please him” (151). As this description comes directly after Jim’s mention of the Harling’s setter dog, it is impossible to mistake Jim’s meaning: he perceives Ántonia as pandering; impotent and doglike. At other points in the novel, too, Ántonia is given animalistic descriptions. When Ántonia, at her brother’s behest, takes up ‘masculine’ fieldwork, Jim compares her to a draft horse: “Her neck came up strongly out of her shoulders, like the bole of a tree out of the turf…One sees that draft-horse neck among the peasant women in the old countries,” using Ántonia’s ‘lessening’ femininity as an excuse to perpetuate her dehumanization (117).
These animalistic descriptions are not exclusive to Ántonia, however: in fact, this same draft horse comparison surfaces again in the final chapter of the novel in reference to Ántonia’s husband, Cujak, who Jim claims, “always looked at people sidewise, as a work-horse does at its yoke-mate” (347). Ántonia’s family is not exempt from these depictions, either: her younger brother Marek has “fingers…webbed to the first knuckle, like a duck’s foot” and crows “like a rooster”; Yulka curls up “like a baby rabbit”; Ántonia’s son Leo is described as “faun-like” and as having a “jealous, animal little love” (23, 25, 337, 341). Though other characters in the novel take on animal characteristics – Peter and Pavel, for example, become nearly like the wolves they sacrificed a bride to circumvent – the Bohemian characters in My Ántonia are the only ones who are consistently given such descriptions, and thus the ones most affected by this dehumanization.
The effect of these animalistic comparisons – often to prey animals or domesticated beasts – is to infantilize the Bohemian characters within the novel, subordinating them to Jim’s attention and protection. Jim writes in the “Hired Girls” section that Ántonia and the other working girls were “almost a race apart,” and this notion reaches fruition in his animalistic metaphors: through Jim’s depictions of her, Ántonia becomes not a race apart from Jim and the other “white” immigrants, but a species apart (192).
The notion of Ántonia as a prey animal is additionally reinforced by Jim’s paternalistic attitude toward Ántonia at other points in the novel. As Jim is discussing Ántonia’s relationship with Larry Donovan during Lena Lindgard’s visit, he remarks, “I think I had better go home and look after Ántonia,” placing himself in the role of protector and showing his desire to become a sort of surrogate father to the naïve Ántonia (260). Taken together, these instances reinforce Jim’s notion of Ántonia as ingenuous and needing his protection – a notion Jim believes is justified when he learns of Ántonia’s illegitimate pregnancy: proof, he thinks, of her rash nature and inherent irresponsibility.
Even Jim’s adulation of Mr. Shimerda falls apart upon scrutiny. Though Jim seems to respect the late Mr. Shimerda, memorializing him in his graduation address, and though some scholars argue that Mr. Shimerda contradicts this pattern of drunk, rash Bohemianism in Cather’s novels, the greatest piece of advice Jim inherits from Mr. Shimerda is “not to marry below his station”: suggesting that Mr. Shimerda’s only value is as yet another cautionary example against making a hasty marital match (Selzer 52). Mr. Shimerda, then, cannot even be read redemptively as an example of a non-stereotypical Bohemian, since his inability to avoid “marrying below his station” left him in poor social standing and in poverty: unsatisfactory conditions which ultimately lead him to take his own life.
The problem in analyzing My Ántonia as an extension of Cather’s tendency to negatively stereotype Bohemians is that the novel is ‘written’ by Jim Burden – at least within the conceit established by the introduction. Thus, Jim Burden and Willa Cather must be considered two separate entities who – despite the similarities in their actions and attitudes – cannot be interpreted as directly comparable.5 While it is true that Jim Burden’s prejudices cannot be taken as a quintessential example of Cather’s own, though, Cather’s choice not to include a character or narrator in My Ántonia to contradict Jim’s viewpoint speaks volumes. As in the case of Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant’s article, Cather’s silence does not distance her from the opinions expressed by Jim in this fictional recollection; it instead involves her in these views.
IV. The Redemption of Bohemian Identity in “Neighbour Rosicky”
For all the ways in which My Ántonia neglects to provide meaningful, positive representations of Czech culture, “Neighbour Rosicky” succeeds. This short story, originally published in 1932, is a stellar example of the development in Cather’s Bohemian portrayals in the 34 years that followed My Ántonia’s publication.
Though it is true that one character in the story refers to the titular Neighbour Rosicky as “Mr. Bohunk,” the character in question does so in a nearly affectionate way, entirely unlike the way Jim uses the word to attack Ántonia (“What did you jabber Bohunk for? You might have told me there was a snake behind me!” ). Additionally, the character that issues this insult is hardly granted authorial support as Jim is; instead, the character herself becomes a caricature with “India-ink strokes” for eyebrows (17). Indeed, though the portrayals of Bohemians in this story are still lacking at points, what Cather so significantly introduces into this story is the narrator’s recognition of the characters’ subjectivity. In My Ántonia, Jim’s perspective is recognized by the modern reader as flawed due to his bias as nostalgic, unhappily married man, who claims that he’d “have liked to have [Ántonia] for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother, or my sister – anything that a woman can be to a man”; however, there is not another perspective included within My Ántonia to keep Jim’s distorted viewpoint in check. Through the inclusion of an omniscient, third-person narrator in “Neighbour Rosicky,” Cather is able to introduce competing viewpoints of Bohemian culture while ultimately reinforcing the positive facets of Czech identity in a way she neglects to in My Ántonia.
Another change present in “Neighbour Rosicky” is the narrator’s awareness of the cultural and political forces that impacted immigrants’ ability to integrate into American society. While Jim seems to blame the Shimerdas for their poverty (when Ántonia mentions her father’s desolation at his economic status, Jim scorns: “People who don’t like this country ought to stay at home…We don’t make them come here” ), the narrator in “Neighbour Rosicky” takes notice of the socioeconomic circumstances affecting immigrants which result in the Rosicky family’s poverty. The young Rosicky’s drinking problems do not become indicative of a larger pattern among Bohemians, but instead an attempt “to get a temporary illusion of freedom and wide horizons,” and the doctor’s generalization that “I’ve never been able to separate a Bohemian from his coffee or his pipe” is humorous, not degrading (28, 8). In the story, Rosicky’s visit to the doctor and the news of his bad heart is followed by the sentimental reflection of the doctor that “He wished [his stethoscope] had been telling tales about some other man’s heart, some old man who didn’t look the Doctor in the eye so knowingly, or hold out such a warm brown hand when he said good-bye. Doctor Burleigh had been a poor boy in the country before he went away to medical school; he had known Rosicky almost ever since he could remember, and he had a deep affection for Mrs. Rosicky” (10-11). While the possessive title of My Ántonia connotes Jim’s heavy-handed influence on the narrative; the title “Neighbour Rosicky” (emphasis added) connotes fondness and closeness – much like that which the Doctor demonstrates in this passage – and does so without the flaw of possessiveness.
While it may be argued that stereotypes in Cather’s earlier Bohemian representations were undertaken as Cather’s attempt to preserve “old world” culture in the face of modernity, the depictions in “Neighbour Rosicky,” with representations of Bohemian warmth and openness seem much closer to the memories Cather expresses in her biographies than do Jim’s recollections, and represent Czech immigrant culture in a way that its constituents would more likely have desired for it to be remembered.
Therefore, if one is to assert that Cather is an advocate for Bohemians in her later publications, it should be with the recognition of the shortcomings of her earlier work. As Cather aged and embraced the forward progression of American society, her writing became more socially conscious, and her portrayals – especially of marginalized ethnic groups – improved.6 Though the flaws in her earlier work do not lessen the progressiveness of texts such as “Neighbour Rosicky,” neither do these later texts diminish the harmful portrayals of Czech immigrants in Cather’s earlier works, especially My Ántonia. If any of Cather’s works is to be recognized for its atypical portrayal of the oft-overlooked Bohemians, then, it should be this later story, with all of its demonstrations of her progressing attitudes, and none of the dehumanizing content of that which came before.
1 In fact, the suggestion in this autobiographical account that Cather did not go to school is erroneous – likely fabricated to amplify the notion of her ‘humble’ origins, and calling into question what else in the account might be invented or exaggerated (Porter 20).
2 After all, the article appeared in the magazine during Cather’s stint as an editor, suggesting that the content of Shepley’s article might not be completely antithetical to Cather’s own views of immigrant life.
3 Though it is suggested with the line, “Ruzenka was sent away in the morning, and the other two maids as well,” that these other maids may have also been involved (112).
4 After all, Bouchalka’s excuse for his sexual digression is that “he had been drinking too much” (112).
5 Though scholars such as Gelfant have debated for decades about the extent to which Jim contains echoes of Cather’s own psyche (76-78).
6 Take, for example, the Archbishop’s recollection of overlooking Native issues at the end of Death Comes for the Archbishop (294-295).
Acocella, Joan. Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism. University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
Atkinson, Brooks. “Critic at Large.” The New York Times, n.d. University of Nebraska – Lincoln, RG 12-10-16 Bernice Slote, Papers, B10, F13.
Cather, Willa. Death Comes for the Archbishop. Random House, Inc., 1990.
Cather, Willa. “The Diamond Mine.” Youth and the Bright Medusa. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1920, pp. 67-120.
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Cather, Willa. “Neighbour Rosicky.” Obscure Destinies. University of Nebraska Press, 1998, pp. 7-61.
Cather, Willa. O Pioneers! Eds. Rosowski, Susan J. and Charles W. Mignon. University of Nebraska Press, 1992.
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Peattie, Elia W. “Miss Cather Writes Exceptional Novel in My Ántonia.” The Commercial Advertiser, n.d., n.p. University of Nebraska – Lincoln, MS 350 Charles E. Cather Collection, B14, F7.
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Prchal, Tim. “The Bohemian Paradox: My Ántonia and Popular Images of Czech Immigrants.” MELUS, vol. 29, no.2, 2004, pp. 3-25.
Selzer, John. “Jim Burden and the Structure of My Ántonia.” Western American Literature, vol. 24, no. 1, 1989, pp 45-61.