Scholarly Editions

      O Pioneers!

      My Ántonia

First Editions

      April Twilights

      The Troll Garden

      Alexander's Bridge

      One of Ours

Short Fiction

Speeches, and
Public Letters



Student Writing

Short Fiction

In addition to presenting The Troll Garden, Cather's 1905 book of short stories, the Cather Archive is building a collection of electronic transcriptions and page images from the first periodical publications of Cather's short fiction. Early twentieth century magazines often accompanied fiction with illustrations, and the initial publication of Cather's short fiction is no exception. Our online presentation aims to give a visitor to the Cather Archive access to Cather's short fiction the way it first appeared in her lifetime. At present, we have, in chronological order:

"On the Divide"
     Overland Monthly, 27 (January 1896): 65-75.
"Eric Hermannson's Soul"
     The Cosmopolitan, 28 (April 1900): 633-44.
     The Saturday Evening Post, 173 (March 30, 1901): 4-5; 25.
"El Dorado: A Kansas Recessional"
     New England Magazine, 24 (June 1901): 357-369
"The Professor's Commencement"
     New England Magazine, 26 (June 1902): 481-488
"The Treasure of Far Island"
     New England Magazine, 27 (October 1902): 234-249
"A Death in the Desert"
     Scribner's Magazine, 33 (January 1903): 109-121
"The Sculptor's Funeral"
     McClure's Magazine, 24 (January 1905): 74-83
"A Wagner Matinée"
     Everybody's Magazine, 10 (March 1904): 325-328
"Paul's Case"
     McClure's Magazine, 25 (May 1905): 74-83
The Troll Garden
     New York: McClure, Phillips & Co., 1905
"The Namesake"
     McClure's Magazine, 28 (March 1907): 493-497
"The Profile"
     McClure's Magazine, 29 (June 1907): 135-141
"The Willing Muse"
     The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 74 (August 1907): 550-557
"Eleanor's House"
     McClure's Magazine, 29 (October 1907): 135-141
"On the Gulls' Road"
     McClure's Magazine, 32 (December 1908): 145-152
"The Enchanted Bluff"
     Harper's Monthly Magazine, 118 (April 1909): 774-781
"The Joy of Nelly Deane"
     The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 82 (October 1911): 859-867
"The Bohemian Girl"
     McClure's Magazine, 39 (April 1912): 420-443
"Behind the Singer Tower"
     Collier's, 49 (May 18, 1912): 16-17; 41
     McClure's Magazine, 46 (November 1915): 30-32; 63-64
"The Bookkeeper's Wife"
     The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 92 (May 1916): 51-59
"The Diamond Mine"
     McClure's Magazine, 47 (October 1916): 7-11; 66-70

For the stories currently unavailable in the form above, we are presenting the texts collected in Willa Cather's Collected Short Fiction 1892-1912, revised edition, edited by Virginia Faulkner (Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1970). This volume brings together all the known early stories up to the time Cather began her career as a novelist.

Peter (1892)
Lou, the Prophet (1892)
A Tale of the White Pyramid (1892)
A Son of the Celestial: A Character (1893)
The Elopement of Allen Poole (1893)
The Clemency of the Court (1893)
"The Fear That Walks by Noonday" (1894)
A Night at Greenway Court (1896)
Tommy, the Unsentimental (1896)
The Princess Baladina—Her Adventure (1896)
The Count of Crow's Nest (1896)
The Burglar's Christmas (1896)
The Strategy of the Were-Wolf Dog (1896)
A Resurrection (1897)
The Prodigies (1897)
Nanette: An Aside (1897)
The Way of the World (1898)
The Westbound Train (1899)
The Dance at Chevalier's (1900)
The Sentimentality of William Tavener (1900)
The Affair at Grover Station (1900)
A Singer's Romance (1900)
The Conversion of Sum Loo (1900)

Cather as Short Story Writer

Cather's first published short stories appeared in student publications in 1892, while she attended the University of Nebraska. When she moved to Pittsburgh in 1896 as editor of a new magazine, The Home Monthly, she had to fill many of its pages at first with her own work, under a variety of pseudonyms. By 1900, when the proliferation of popular magazines had created a large and comparatively lucrative market for short fiction, Cather's stories began to be published in nationally circulated magazines such as Cosmopolitan, The Saturday Evening Post, and Scribner's Magazine. In 1905, a few of these stories, plus some newly written ones, were collected in Cather's first book of fiction, The Troll Garden. Her work had attracted the attention of S. S. McClure, who brought her to New York in 1906 as an editor of his outstanding popular magazine, McClure's, where much of Cather's work appeared between 1905 and 1916. She resigned as managing editor in 1912 to devote herself to writing; her first novel, Alexander's Bridge, was serialized in McClure's that year. Thereafter, she wrote stories only occasionally, at first to supplement her income as she established herself as a novelist, and later as a break from her longer work. Four of the short stories from The Troll Garden were revised and incorporated into the 1920 collection of stories, Youth and the Bright Medusa, the first book she published with Alfred A. Knopf. Three later stories were published together in Obscure Destinies (1932); Cather wrote three more short stories after this, but they were not published until after her death, in The Old Beauty and Others (New York: Knopf, 1948). The other stories she wrote from 1915-1929 were not collected until 1973, in Uncle Valentine and Other Stories.