Year of Great Books

The Virgil of Nebraska

What Willa Cather’s style shows us about memory, and how we should think about her lesbianism.

Hermione Lee.
Hermione Lee. Jane Bown

This article is part of a Year of Great Books, a Slate Academy. To learn more, read Laura Miller’s introduction to the series, or visit

Where does My Ántonia fit into Willa Cather’s career? How should the author’s sexuality affect our reading of the book? Slate’s Laura Miller discussed these questions with Dame Hermione Lee, author of the biography Willa Cather: A Life Saved Up (published in the U.S. as Willa Cather: Double Lives).

Next week we’ll reconvene for a complete recap of the novel with Slate TV critic Willa Paskin. In the meantime, join the discussion in our private Facebook group.

P.S. Audible is still offering Slate Plus members a complimentary audiobook of My Ántonia. Don’t forget to claim yours!

To access all features of this Slate Academy, visit