Now, a Literary Moment...
In 1883, Willa Cather was nine years old when her family moved from the lush mountains of Virginia to the prairies of Nebraska. She grew up to be a celebrated writer and in her novel, My Antonia, she captured that uncertain journey. In the story, a young boy travels in a wagon at night with the Great Plains stretched out all around him.
Writer and host of Prairie Home Companion Garrison Keillor reads from My Antonia.
Garrison Keillor: “There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made. No, there was nothing but land -- slightly undulating, I knew, because often our wheels ground against the brake as we went down into a hollow and lurched up again on the other side. I had the feeling that the world was left behind, that we had got over the edge of it, and were outside man’s jurisdiction. I had never before looked up at the sky when there was not a familiar mountain ridge against it. But this was the complete dome of heaven, all there was of it. …I don’t think I was homesick. If we never arrived anywhere, it did not matter. Between that earth and that sky I felt erased, blotted out. I did not say my prayers that night: here, I felt, what would be would be.”
This Literary Moment was created by the National Endowment for the Arts
[ Audio ]