How do we continue with life when we no longer have anything to look forward to? Willa Cather ponders the time-old question in this short, intense novel.
Professor Godfrey St. Peter leads a successful life. He has a wonderful wife, his two daughters recently married, and he was just awarded an esteemed literary prize. But when it’s time for his hard work to pay off and the Professor’s family is ready to move into their grand new home, he finds he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want to leave his old house, his comforting study, or his happy memories. Soon he begins to question his reasons for being and wonders whether he has anything left to live for.
Willa Cather’s quietly dark novel is split into three sections: ‘The Family’, ‘Tom Outland’s Story’, and ‘The Professor’. In the first section, Cather explores the cynical Professor’s relationships with his family, and it soon becomes evident that a deep grief hangs over them all. A favourite student of the Professor’s and his eldest daughter’s fiance, Tom Outland, passed away during World War I, and the second section explores his remarkable life through the Professor’s reminiscing mind. The final section rejoins the Professor as he considers the next stages of his life and his inevitable death.
Originally published in 1925, The Professor’s House is now in a brand new edition, featuring an introductory essay by H. L. Mencken. Willa Cather fans should not miss this American literary classic.