In her final novel, Willa Cather departed from her usual Great Plains settings to plumb the turbulent relationships between slaves and their owners in the antebellum South. " Sapphira and the Slave Girl "is set in Virginia just before the Civil War. Sapphira is a slave owner who feels she has come down in the world and channels her resentments into jealousy of her beautiful mulatto slave, Nancy. Sapphira's daughter Rachel, an abolitionist, opposes her mother's increasingly shocking attempts to persecute Nancy. The struggles of these three strong-willed women provide rich material for Cather's narrative art and psychological insight.
About the Author
A Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Willa Cather s work was profoundly influenced by her upbringing in rural Nebraska. During her young adulthood Cather proved herself intelligent and capable, initially training for a career as a medical doctor, but discovered a love of, and talent for, writing while attending the University of Nebraska. Following graduation, Cather worked as a journalist for several women s magazines before becoming a high school teacher; an opportunity work as an editor at McClure s provided Cather with her first chance to publish as the magazine serialized her first novel, Alexander s Bridge, to critical acclaim. This was soon followed by works that have since become best-loved American classics, including My ?ntonia, The Song of the Lark, and her Pulitzer-Prize winner, One of Ours. Cather died in 1947 at the age of 73.