|Trans||Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften||9. Nr.||Mai 2001|
Matthias Schubnell (San Antonio, Tx)
The writings of Willa Cather have been interpreted from a wide variety of angles. Once celebrated as a writer who created strong women characters in pastoral settings and depicted the resilience of the American immigrant farmer, Cather has been reexamined in a whole host of important publications that have established her as a major literary figure of the twentieth century. James Woodress's meticulous biography illuminates the intricate connections between her work and personal life, Sharon O'Brien's Willa Cather: The Emerging Voice and Hermione Lee's Willa Cather: Double Lives reveal the inner conflicts, sexual tensions and contradictory identities in Cather. Susan Rosowski places Cather into the romantic tradition, while other critics have shown her ties to modernism. More recently, Cather's depiction of minorities and her lesbianism have become the center of critical attention. This paper is part of yet another new approach, ecocriticism, which is particularly appropriate to an examination of literature in the context of globalization. After all, what could be more pertinent to the discussion of global interrelationships than ecology and sustainable living? Cather's writings emerge as environmentally conscious texts when they are read against the background of Deep Ecology, as professed by Arne Naess, Fritjof Capra, Aldo Leopold and others. Put simply, this philosophy emphasizes that humans represent only one strand in the intricate web of life; that all forms of life have a right to continued existence; and that humans must integrate ecology into their sense of identity and learn to relate intuitively and affectively to the world around them in order to achieve a sustainable existence.
Ecocriticism has experienced a remarkable ascent over the last twenty-five years or so. In The Comedy of Survival: Studies in Literary Ecology (1974), Joseph Meeker called for a careful examination of literature's role in determining the relationship between nature and humans. He challenges writers, readers and critics to ask the question whether the creation of literature is "an activity which adapts us better to the world or one which estranges us from it? From the unforgiving perspective of evolution and natural selection, does literature contribute more to our survival than it does to our extinction?" (qtd. in Love, p.228). Glen A. Love, in his seminal essay, "Revaluing Nature: Toward An Ecological Criticism," takes literary critics to task by arguing strongly against "our discipline's limited humanistic vision, our narrow anthropocentric view of what is consequential in life" (Love, p.229). Instead, he urges a shift from emphasizing ego-consciousness as the distinguishing feature of great literature to a critical focus on eco-consciousness, as this approach holds the promise of a new valuation of the non-human world and our place in it (Love, p.230).
I share Love's conviction that ecocriticism can revitalize literary study and help address some of the pressing questions concerning our global, and local, ecology. Says Love: "At a time when the discipline of literary criticism retreats ever further from public life into a professionalism characterized by its obscurity and inaccessibility to all but other English professors, it seems necessary to begin asking elemental questions of ourselves and the literature which we profess" (Love, p.236). For instance, we may ask of a text what role the setting plays in the construction of the characters' personal identity; whether it tends to locate humankind within a clear hierarchy ('My foot-stool earth, my canopy the skies', to use Pope's metaphor (Pope, p.509)), reveals a complex, interconnected community of which homo sapiens is but one member among many; or whether the text's physical environment transcends Cartesian dualism to reveal the myriad connections, both physical and spiritual, between human beings and a particular place, as well as the ecological interplay between them.
The growing interest in these questions has led to the proliferation of ecocritical studies and anthologies, such as Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm's The Ecocritical Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology, Loraine Anderson, Scott Slovic, and John P. O'Grady's Literature and the Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture, and more recently Reading under the Sign of Nature: New Essays in Ecocriticism, edited by John Tallmadge and Henry Harrington. The rapidly growing membership of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE), the wide readership of its journal, ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies of Literature and Environment), MLA sessions on ecocriticism and conferences such as the national symposium held in 2000 on "Willa Cather's Environmental Imagination," are all testimony that literature and literary criticism can and must play an important role in fostering greater environmental awareness in an age of globalization. To quote Glen Love once more:
The most important function of literature today is to redirect human consciousness to a full consideration of its place in a threatened natural world ... Paradoxically, recognizing the primacy of nature, and the necessity for a new ethic and aesthetic embracing the human and the natural-these may provide us with our best hope of recovering the lost social role of literary criticism. (Love, p.237-38)
What follows is a discussion of selected works by Willa Cather in terms of deep ecological thinking. Several of Cather's works revolve around the transformation of wild nature-particularly the prairie on the Great Divide in Nebraska-into an agricultural landscape. In O Pioneers!, Alexandra Bergson approaches this process in an intuitive way, placing her faith in the land and tapping its wealth by gentle means rather than by conquest and domination. Her relationship to place is spiritual as well as economic, and she views herself as collaborating with the land rather than imposing her will upon it, as virtually all her neighbors do. Moreover, she is fully aware that her destiny and that of the land are inseparable. This attitude reflects many of the features of deep ecological thinking. As Fridjof Capra noted, the new ecological worldview represents "a shift from self-assertion to integration," accompanied by a "shift from the rational to the intuitive, from analysis to synthesis, from reductionism to holism, from linear to non-linear thinking" (Capra, p.24). Alexandra Bergson embodies this shift.
In O Pioneers!, Cather elaborates an idea she introduced in an early short story, "Eric Hermannson's Soul," in which a young woman visiting from the city meets the title character who represents the vitality of the frontier.
[Margaret] belonged to an ultra-refined civilization which tries to cheat nature with elegant sophistries. Cheat nature? Bah! One generation may do it, perhaps two, but the third-Can we ever rise above nature or sink below it?... . Does she not always cry in brutal triumph: "I am here still, at the bottom of things, warming the roots of life; you cannot starve me not tame me nor thwart me; I made the world, I rule it, and I am its destiny. (Eric Hermannson's Soul, p.115)
Aware of the primacy of nature, Alexandra respects and loves the land, knowing full well how fragile the pioneer farming communities are in the face of nature's adversity. "[The land] was still a wild thing that had ugly moods; and no one knew when they were likely to come, or why. Its Genius was unfriendly to man" (O Pioneers!, p.16). But unlike her brothers and neighbors, Alexandra keeps her faith in the natural world and never relinquishes her enjoyment of it:
For the first time, perhaps, since the land emerged from the waters of geologic ages, a human face was set toward it with love and yearning. It seemed beautiful to her, rich and strong and glorious. Her eyes drank in the breadth of it, until her tears blinded her. Then the Genius of the Divide, the great free spirit which breathes across it, must have bent lower than it ever bent to a human will before. The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman. (O Pioneers!, p.50)
Cather's point here - that love and an ethical responsibility to the land are the prerequisites for a reciprocal and sustainable relationship - exemplifies a shift from anthropocentrism to biocentrism, an idea later advocated in Aldo Leopold's land ethic and Arne Naess's philosophy of Deep Ecology. In his classic work, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold argues that land use cannot be based on economic expediency alone, but must involve ethical and aesthetic considerations. "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise" (Leopold, p.262). This and the following observation on the human place in nature are also at the center of Cather's work:
A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these "resources," but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state. In short, a land ethic changes the role of homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such. (Leopold, p.240)
In her treatment of the swamp in A Lost Lady and of Ivar's wildlife refuge in O Pioneers!, Cather asserts that the conservation of natural sites is imperative. The wanton destruction of natural habitats, as in the case of Ivy Peters' draining of the Forresters' swamp, is symptomatic of a modern, rapacious America that considers nature as a disposable resource.
Ivy Peters' ecological vandalism is equivalent to the widespread cutting of cottonwood trees in Nebraska to which Cather objected in a 1921 interview. She declared the cottonwood an integral part of pioneer life and therefore worthy of preservation (Bohlke, p.40). Peters' action heralds the rise of an unrestrainedly utilitarian generation in American history: "By draining the marsh Ivy had obliterated a few acres of something he hated, though he could not name it, and had asserted his power over the people who had loved those unproductive meadows for their idleness and silvery beauty" (O Pioneers!, p.89). In doing so, he breaks perhaps the central rule in deep ecological thinking, namely that all forms of life have intrinsic value and a right to exist. It is valid and appropriate to read Cather's indictment of environmental degradation against the background of the global race for natural resources, perhaps best symbolized today by the rapid disappearance of the world's rain forests and the Bush Administration's intent to prospect for oil in the Alaskan wilderness.
For Peters, the marsh also represents a challenge to the patriarchal power that he asserts by controlling and subduing it. Pointing to the feminine connotations of the swamp, David Miller argues that it is a
landscape [located] on the underside of patriarchal culture, dominated by the body, materiality, corruption, infection, sexuality, and irrationality--but also origin and creativity. What prompts these associations in the case of the swamp is the resistance of nature to the values of the dominant industrial-capitalist order. (Miller, p.9)
This is certainly a fitting comment on Peters' double assault on Marian Forrester and the marsh which Cather condemns as a violation of human and ecological civility.
In less dramatic form, the growing moral and emotional distance between the land and those who make their livelihood on it is reflected in the mechanical farming methods of Anton Rosicky's neighbors, the Marshalls, in the short story, "Neighbor Rosicky." Cather anticipates here the shift from agriculture, rooted in the traditions of close-knit farming communities, to the industrialized farming operations of corporate agribusiness, a shift that threatens the solidarity of rural communities, the independence of individual farmers, and the health of the larger ecological community. Like Alexandra Bergson, Rosicky defines himself in terms of the land, relates to it on an intuitive level, and understands that the health of the land is inextricably linked to the future of his family. In fact, he sacrifices himself at the end of the story in order to protect the soil for the benefit of his children.
Rosicky, a Czech immigrant who tried and failed to build an existence in London and New York, escapes to the Nebraska frontier because he listens to an inner voice that draws him back to a rural life he knew as a child. One day, he is struck by New York's emptiness, even at Park Place where he often retreated to raise his spirit: "Wall Street, Liberty Street, Broadway, all empty ... The emptiness was intense ... It was too great a change, it took all the strength out of one" (O Pioneers!, p.87-88). Located at the center of American economic and cultural life, a sacred place for so many immigrants, Anton senses a moral and spiritual void. Suddenly
it struck young Rosicky that this was the trouble with big cities; they build you in from the earth itself, cemented you away from any contact with the ground. You lived in an unnatural world, like the fish in an aquarium, who were probably much more comfortable than they were in the sea (Neighbor Rosicky, p.88).
Rosicky's life-changing experience which leads toward what Arne Naess calls an ecosophical outlook on life grows out of "an identification so deep that one's own self is no longer adequately delimited by the personal ego or the organism. One experiences oneself as a genuine part of life" (Naess, p.174). At Park Place, Rosicky recognizes his ailment, his dis-ease with urban life, as the symptom of his separation from "those ties with the earth and the farm animals and growing things" which gave him strength growing up on his grandparents' farm in Czechoslovakia (Neighbor Rosicky, p.88). Only by expanding the parameters of his identity to include the cycles of the seasons, the earth as source of subsistence and spiritual nourishment, in other words by turning his back on the city and constructing an ecological identity, does Anton Rosicky overcome his restlessness and find contentment.(1)
If one examines Rosicky's work as a farmer, it becomes readily apparent that his complete integration into the local ecology precisely fits Fridjof Capra's definition of a deep ecological outlook:
Deep ecology does not separate humans from the natural environment, nor does it separate anything else from it. It does not see the world as a collection of isolated objects but rather as a network of phenomena that are fundamentally interconnected and interdependent. Deep ecology recognizes the intrinsic values of all living beings and views humans as just one particular strand in the web of life (Capra, p.20).
In life and death, Rosicky exemplifies a caring, ecologically responsible stance toward the land. He cares little that his neighbors, who employ mechanized farming methods, question his business sense. He cares more about protecting the soil as a source of future fertility. He accepts nature's adversity when hot winds and drought destroy one year's corn harvest. Again and again, we see him at one with the place in which he has invested a life's work. Winter is not a bitter, dark and harsh season to him, but a time of "rest for vegetation and men and beasts, for the ground itself" (Neighbor Rosicky, p.81). Cather emphasizes his sense of interconnectedness with all of creation in the scene when Anton "stopped by the windmill to look up at the frosty winter stars and draw a long breath before he went inside. That kitchen with the shining windows was dear to him; but the sleeping fields and bright stars and the noble darkness were dearer still" (Neighbor Rosicky, p.81). This passage suggests that Rosicky's ultimate allegiance lies with nature which he sees as the matrix of human lives.
Rosicky's final act in the story shows that he is fully aware of his ecological responsibility to nurture the land, even if it costs him his life. His removing the thistles from the alfalfa field is symbolic on at least three levels: he protects the health of the land at the expense of his own, ensuring the success of the alfalfa harvest despite the winter and drought. Second, he ensures the psychological link to his homeland that the alfalfa field had always represented. Finally, he gives his life to weed out the looming thistles of dependency and brutal competition which he fear his children will face should they have to abandon the farm. He sacrifices himself for the benefit of the land, which in turn will benefit his children. The values and wisdom Anton Rosicky embodies are particularly pertinent at a time when multinational corporate agribusiness is engaged in the global industrialization of agriculture.
A look at O Pioneers! provides further evidence of Cather's ecosophical outlook. Ivar and Alexandra Bergson represent different degrees of environmentally conscious living; Ivar, one of the most memorable characters in Cather's canon, is the eccentric hermit in O Pioneers! who lives remote from the world in the tradition of Emerson's "Merlin." A herbalist and vegetarian who preaches non-violence, Ivar serves as a veterinarian and maintains a wild life refuge on the Divide while everyone else is busy plowing up the land around him. A man who walks barefoot and allegedly howls at night, who suffers spells and experiences visions, who fasts and does penance, is the most obvious spokesman for Cather's ecosophical ideas. Ivar protects life by banning guns from his property and caring for animals. In doing so, he lives one of the central tenets of Deep Ecology. As Arne Naess puts it, "One of the basic norms of deep ecology is that every life form has in principle a right to live and blossom. As the world is made of course, we have to kill in order to eat, but there is a basic intuition in deep ecology that we have no right to destroy other living beings without sufficient reason" (qtd. in Bodian, p.28-29). To instill an understanding of God's benevolence toward all life into the young boys of the town, Ivar preaches restraint and ecological responsibility, though with little success. His insistence on his rule, "no guns, no guns!" (O Pioneers, p.30) represents a prophetic plea for non-violence, both within the human community and in the interaction between humans and other life forms.
Ivar relates to animals intuitively. In a sense, he is one of them. As Alexandra Bergson observes, "He understands animals" (O Pioneers!, p.26), and Ivar himself remarks in his story about the lost seagull that he could not understand her, suggesting that this was an unusual occurrence. His close relationship with animals allows him to heal them, as in the cases of the Berquists' panicked cow, the Crow Indians' horses, or the local farmers' livestock (O Pioneers!, p.26). Relating one story of Ivar's horse doctoring to Emil, Carl notes Ivar's abilities as a shaman or horse whisperer: "He kept patting [the mare] and groaning as if he had the pain himself, and saying, 'There sister, that's easier, that's better'" (O Pioneers!, p.25). Ivar's love of the suffering mare is so profound that he becomes that creature. This empathy extends the idea of kinship to include all forms of life. Another examples of his keenly developed animal sense is his assertion that "hogs don't like to be filthy" (O Pioneers!, p.34), which is met with disbelief by everyone except Alexandra who immediately takes Ivar's advice and reorganizes her hog operation.
Even a cursory look at Ivar's domicile and his service to the creatures around him shows that he sees himself as one facet of the local ecosystem. Ivar's "door and a single window were set into the hillside' (O Pioneers!, p.27), located just above the earthen dam which created Ivar's pond, the center of his animal refuge. Cather portrays her reclusive character as completely integrated into the lay of the land: "But for the piece of rusty stovepipe sticking up through the sod, you could have walked over the roof of Ivar's dwelling without dreaming that you were near a human habitation. Ivar had lived for three years in the clay bank, without defiling the face of nature any more than a coyote that had lived there before him" (O Pioneers!, p.28). Even when Ivar is later forced to abandon his homestead because his single-minded conservation of the wilderness threatens his survival, he moves to Alexandra's farm where he opts to reside in the barn with the animals, an arrangement that further illustrates his allegiance to both human and animal communities.
There are, of course, other characters in Cather's work who exemplify the virtue of treading lightly on the earth; for example, the already mentioned Anton Rosicky, or Eusabio and his fellow-Navajos in Death Comes For the Archbishop, or the Anasazi farmers of Blue Mesa in The Professor's House, yet none of them is more protective of the local ecology than Ivar. Cather sums up his desire to keep the land ecologically sound and spiritually pure:
Ivar found contentment in the solitude he had sought out for himself. He disliked the litter of human dwellings; the broken food, the bits of broken china, the old wash-boilers and tea-kettles thrown into the sunflower patch. He preferred the cleanliness and tidiness of the wild sod ... He best expressed his preference for his wild homestead by saying that his Bible seemed truer to him there. If one stood in the doorway of his cave, and looked off at the rough land, the smiling sky, the curly grass white in the hot sunlight; if one listened to the rapturous song of the lark, the drumming of the quail, the burr of the locust against that vast silence, one understood what Ivar meant. (O Pioneers!, p.28-29)
Like the early Christian desert dwellers, Ivar seeks distance from the pollution of the world in order to find peace and contemplation within God's handiwork.(2)
Like Ivar and Anton Rosicky, Alexandra Bergson is a keen observer of her natural environment. Cather surrounds her with flora and fauna that are drawn with scientific accuracy. Mrs. Bergson, Alexandra's mother, utilizes the native plants for food, such as fox grapes, goose plums and ground-cherries (O Pioneers!, p.22). Among the other native plants and animals that inhabit the novel are are coreopsis (O Pioneers!, p.26); shoestring, ironweed, snow-on-the-mountain (O Pioneers!, p.27); osage orange hedges, scrub willow, mulberry hedges, walnut, wild rose, bunch grass (O Pioneers!, p.63); and lark, quail, locust (O Pioneers!, p.29); ducks, snipe, and crane (O Pioneers!, p.30). While these particularities of place are important to her sense of rootedness, she transcends her immediate sphere on several occasions and embraces nature on a cosmic scale. These moments are best explained by referring once more to Arne Naess:
Most people in deep ecology have had the feeling-usually, but not always, in nature-that they are connected with something greater than their ego, greater than their name, their family their special attributes as an individual-a feeling that is often called oceanic because many have had this feeling on the ocean. (Naess, p.30)
For Alexandra, it is the prairie and the big sky of the Great Divide that take the place of the ocean. In the scene that is described below, Alexandra experiences an epiphany as she extends her self into the cosmic realm:
Alexandra drew her shawl closer about her and stood leaning against the frame of the mill, looking at the stars which glittered so keenly through the frosty autumn air. She always loved to watch them, to think of their vastness and distance, and of their ordered march. It fortified her to reflect upon the great operations of nature, and when she thought of the law that lay behind them, she felt a sense of personal security. That night she had a new consciousness of the country, felt almost a new relation to it. (O Pioneers!, pp.53-54)
Patience and faith characterize this new relationship. She intuits that the land cannot be conquered, can only be coaxed into yielding its plenty voluntarily. Yet subsistence on the land also requires being in tune with its spiritual presence. In one of the most often quoted passages from Cather's work, Alexandra displays the necessary communion with the natural world which is at the heart of deep ecological thinking:
For the first time, perhaps, since that land emerged from the waters of geologic ages, a human face was set toward it with love and yearning. It seemed beautiful to her, rich and strong and glorious. Her eyes drank in the breadth of it, until her tears blinded her. Then the Genius of the Divide, the great free spirit which breathes across it, must have bent lower than it ever bent to a human will before. The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman (O Pioneers!, p.50).
It is worth examining one final aspect of the novel to show another dimension of Alexandra's ecological identity.
In "Neighbor Rosicky," Anton's acceptance of the cycle of life and death marked his contented attitude to the world around him. He was keenly aware of the proximity of the dead in the country cemetery, and the return to the soil after a life of caring for it held no terror for him. The idea of death as an individual's connection to nature's transformational forces also strengthens Alexandra in her mature years. Twice, Alexandra fancies that she is being carried off by a young man who "was yellow like the sunlight, and there was the smell of ripe cornfields about him" (O Pioneers!, p.153). In the first instance, her flight with this nature spirit connotes a sexual encounter, and the cold bath Alexandra takes after the incident indicates an act of sexual repression. However, when this strong courtier pays her another imaginary visit at the end of the novel, it is clear that he is both lover and death, or, as Alexandra has it, "the mightiest of all lovers" (O Pioneers!, p.210). "She knew at last for whom it was she had waited, and where he would carry her. That, she told herself, was very well" (O Pioneers!, p.211). This intimation of death and immortality is reinforced by the narrator's final comment that bring the novel to its close: "Fortunate country, that is one day to receive hearts like Alexandra's into its bosom, to give them out again in the yellow wheat, in the rustling corn, in the shining eyes of youth" (O Pioneers!, p.230). Here we learn the identity of the man who carries off Alexandra on her flights of fancy: he is the genius of the land, the mythic figure that balances life and death, fertility and decomposition, youth and age. Alexandra is at peace in the knowledge that her individual self is not only formed by the spirit of place, but that her return into nature's endless flow will give new strength to the land she loves. This extended definition of identity, with the celebration of the self's interconnectedness to all creation as its central feature, is a memorable example of Cather's belief in an ecological identity.
Much of Willa Cather's writing embodies deep ecological thinking and provides a fresh opportunity for ecocritical readings. Her work provides insights into the human place in creation and offers a corrective to the still pervasive human dislocation from the biosphere. It cautions us against jumping on the bandwagon of globalization if globalization disconnects us and others around the world from our cultural and spiritual ties to place. And it speaks directly against the idea of ecological exploitation in the name of economic growth which is so often associated with globalization. Applied to Willa Cather's work, Joseph Meeker's question whether reading and writing about literature is "an activity which adapts us better to the world" in an evolutionary sense can have only one answer: a resounding "Yes!"
© Matthias Schubnell
(University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Tx)
table of contents: No.9
(1) For a more detailed discussion of "Neighbor Rosicky" see my article, "The Farmer As Cultural Model: Neighbor Rosicky's American Dream," published in Nebraska English Journal 37.1 (Fall 1991): 41-50.
(2) Cather's modeling of Ivar on early Christian desert monks is the subject of my article "Religion and Ecology on the Great Divide: Ivar's Monasticism in Willa Cather's O Pioneers!" which is forthcoming in Literature and Belief.
Anderson, Lorraine, Scott Slovic, and John P. O'Grady. Literature and the Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture. New York: Longman, 1999.
Bodian, Stephan. "Simple in Means, Rich in Ends: An Interview With Arne Naess." Deep Ecology For the 21st Century: Readings on the Philosophy and Practice of the New Environmentalism. Ed. George Sessions. Boston: Shambhala, 1995. 26-36.
Bohlke, L. Brent (ed.). Willa Cather in Person: Interviews, Speeches, and Letters. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986.
Capra, Fritjof. "Deep Ecology: A New Paradigm." Deep Ecology For the 21st Century: Readings on the Philosophy and Practice of the New Environmentalism. Ed. George Sessions. Boston: Shambhala, 1995. 19-25.
Cather, Willa. "Eric Hermannson's Soul." Willa Cather: 24 Stories. Ed. Sharon O'Brien. New York: Meridian Classic, 1987. 92-117.
---. Death Comes For the Archbishop. New York: Vintage, 1971.
---. "Neighbour Rosicky." Five Stories. New York: Vintage, 1956.
---. O Pioneers! New York: Signet, 1989.
---. A Lost Lady. New York: Vintage, 1990.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac. New York: Ballantine, 1978.
Love, Glen A. "Revaluing Nature: Toward An Ecological Criticism." The Ecocritical Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Eds Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1996. 225-40.
Miller, David C. Dark Eden: The Swamp in Nineteenth-Century American Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Naess, Arne. Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle. David Rothenberg, trans. New York: Cambridge UP, 1989.
Pope, Alexander. An Essay On Man. In The Poems of Alexander Pope: A One-Volume edition of the Twickenham text with selected annotations. Ed. John Butt. London: Methuen, 1963.
Schubnell, Matthias. "The Farmer As Cultural Model: Neighbour Rosicky's American Dream." Nebraska English Journal 37.1 (Fall 1991): 41-50.
---. "Religion and Ecology on the Great Divide: Ivar's Monasticism in Willa Cather's O Pioneers!" Forthcoming in Literature and Belief.
Tallmadge, John, and Henry Harrington, eds. Reading under the Sign of Nature: New Essays in Ecocriticism. Salt Lake City: U of Utah P, 2000.