Books: The Old Sod

A LOST LADY by WILLA CATHER 177 pages. Knopf. $7.95.

Willa Cather was born 100 years ago. This novel, reissued in a handsome centenary edition, first appeared in 1923 when the author was 50 and doing her best work. H.L. Mencken had called her a great novelist. Edmund Wilson, a young whippersnapper in those days, conceded that she was one of the few who could bring "distinction" to the Middle West: "that meager and sprawling scene." Not even he was aware that at that very moment the post-World War I generation¬óDos Passos, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner¬ówere sealing the door on Cather's kind of...

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