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Instantly, but in terror that would make dying seem to last an eternity.

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The Ghost laughed, a sound with no humor in it, the kind of laugh that called up empty wastelands and icy peaks. Fiddle, then. And pray to that Sacrificed God of yours that you fiddle well, very well. If you please me, if you continue to entertain me until dawn, I shall let you live, a favor I have never granted any other. But I warn you-the moment my attention lags, little girl-you'll die like all the others and you will join all the others in my own private little Hell.

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University of Wisconsin University Bookstore. A voice, an icy, whispering voice, came out of the darkness from all around her; from everywhere, yet nowhere. Rune had to swallow twice before she could speak, and even then her voice cracked and squeaked with fear. Only registered users can write reviews.

Lark Case Files Book 1: Black City

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Fripp, Wetton, Richard Palmer-James. The Song of the Lark suggests that it is no accident that Cather habitually spoke of her experiments in narrative "design"; in this novel and in later works that deal less directly with the question of her artistic sources and influences, Cather explicitly relates her narrative techniques to the decorative patterns of "piece-picture" quilts and to Native American arts that influenced quilt design in the nineteenth century.

That Cather—like the most innovative quiltmakers of the West—draws upon the designs of Native American culture is the point of the most clearly autobiographical section of The Song of the Lark. Cather visited the Southwest for the first time in , and her experience of the desert landscape and its native culture is recreated in Part IV of the book, "The Ancient People," in which Thea Kronborg spends the summer on Fred Ottenburg's ranch in northern Arizona.

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It was to this central section of the novel that Cather alluded in explaining her "unfortunate" title, contending that it was "meant to suggest a young girl's awakening to something beautiful. Cather presents the scene in Panther Canyon as an ironic pendant or companion piece to Moonstone's favorite parlor painting, The Awakening Conscience by William Holman Hunt In contrast to Hunt's famous picture of a fallen woman's spiritual regeneration, the "awakening" that Cather depicts in Part IV of The Song of the Lark is aesthetic rather than moral Nochlin Although by Moonstone standards Thea's vacation in the Southwest is decidedly immoral like the woman in Hunt's painting, she is involved in an extramarital affair , it is Thea's artistic sensibility—rather than her sense of sexual morality—that awakens during the long hours she spends in Panther Canyon.

Thea's awakening does resemble that of Hunt's heroine in one crucial detail: it is inspired by art. Hunts's woman is moved to leap from her lover's lap when memories of childhood innocence are evoked by the song they've been playing together on the piano, "Oft in the Stilly Night"; the bright colors and patterns of Cliff Dweller pottery and Navajo blankets give Thea a new awareness of the "sensuous form" of art. Unlike Hunt's upwardly mobile, conscience-stricken heroine, however, Thea lies languidly in the sun all day and revels in pure "sensation" Among the physical sights, sounds, and smells that go straight into her "subconscious self and [take] root there," nothing affects Thea more profoundly than the potsherds that she discovers in Panther Canyon.


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The Cliff Dwellers' "beautifully decorated" water jars and painted with "graceful geometric patterns" in contrasting teach her about artistic form. Although she sings very little that summer, the "simple and definite" shapes of the Indian pottery enable her to conceive her own art in a "sharper and clearer" fashion If the novel dramatizes an artist's "simple and concrete beginnings," the Moonstone and Panther Canyon parts of this story are decisively joined by Thea's reflections about the ancient pottery she discovers. She is moved as much by the knowledge that the "old masters" of Cliff Dweller art were women as she is by the intrinsic beauty of their jars and bowls: The men provided the food, but water was the care of the women.

The stupid women carried water for most of their lives; the cleverer ones made the vessels to hold it. Their pottery was their most direct appeal to water, the envelope and sheath of the precious element itself. What was any art but an effort to make a sheath, a mould in which to imprison for a moment the shining, elusive element which is life itself,—life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose? The Indian women had held it in their jars.

I suggest that Thea is able to draw an immediate connection between the linear patterns and clean shapes of the Cliff Dweller pottery and a "simple and definite" form for her own art because this "discovery" of aesthetic form is actually a re discovery. The female potters of the desert are artistic forebears of her Aunt Tillie and the frontier homemakers that Tillie represents. The same impulse evident to Thea in the low-relief carvings and painted designs of the pottery—the desire to bring beautiful order to a harsh wilderness—also informs the domestic arts that civilize Moonstone.

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The way in which both the Panther Canyon and Moonstone segments of The Song of the Lark highlight the orderly patterns of domestic art finally suggests that the women of the West are not only the principal subjects of Cather's fiction but also a primary source of her own narrative "design. In the last analysis, "design is the story" in Cather's fiction because both in form and in content her best novels are inspired by designers like the Navajo women and Aunt Tillie, imaginative and unassuming artists who gave color and shape to life in a wilderness.

Andrew Jewell, editor. Source File: cat. I Fear of redundancy was certainly one reason Cather initially refused to provide Houghton Mifflin with a preface for the publisher's reissue of The Song of the Lark. Preface v-vi In warning readers against taking the "song of the lark" as a straightforward reference to her heroine's voice, Cather hints that the title is more subtle and complex. II The juxtapositional structure of Cather's novels has been called "new" or modernist, but her prose is like Robert Frost poetry in at least one respect: she chose an old way to be new.

I am grateful to Loretta K.