A Reader's Companion to the Fiction of Willa Cather

By John March; Marilyn Arnold et al. | Go to book overview
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W---. In "The Best Years" a passenger train is said to be snowbound west of a place identified only as W---, probably Wray, Colorado (q.v.). S: Bes6

WACHT AM RHEIN, DIE. A German national song, the words of which were written in 1840 by Max Schneckenburger ( 1819-1849), a wealthy ironmaster, at a time of high tension between Germany and France. The music was composed by Carl Wilhelm ( 1815-1873) in 1854 for the celebration of the silver wedding anniversary of the Crown Prince of Prussia. In One of Ours the crusty old German immigrant, Troilus Oberlies, plays this music on his trombone on the front porch, much to the annoyance of his nationalistic American neighbors. N: OnO III, 9

WADE. A law partner in McQuiston, Wade, and Wanning, he was not interested in hearing Paul Wanning talk of his fatal illness in "Her Boss."S: He2-4

WAGNER, COSIMA. In "The Prodigies" Cosima Wagner is said to have given Hermann Massey a portrait of her famous husband, composer Richard Wagner (q.v.). Born at Bellagio, Italy, in 1837 and died at Bayreuth in 1930, she was the daughter of Franz Liszt and Countess Marie d'Agoult (q.v.). She married Hans von Bülow in 1857, but, in 1864, she fell fervently in love with Richard Wagner. A lasting liaison formed, and in 1870 they were married. Cosima became Richard Wagner's greatest critic as well as his devoted companion, business manager, housekeeper, and spiritual driving force. S:Prod

WAGNER, MR. In The Professor's House, he is the secretary to the director of the Smithsonian Institution. He will schedule appointments with unknown people like Tom Outland only if the appointment includes lunch at an expensive establishment. N: PH II, 6

WAGNER, RICHARD. The German composer, born at Leipzig, Germany, in 1813 and died at Venice, Italy, in 1883. One of the greatest operatic innovators, he considered opera to be a fusion of many arts, including music, drama, poetry, and philosophy; his operas challenged singers to use their voices in a more powerful way than previous singers had done. In addition to being mentioned in numerous essays, Wagner and his music are often alluded to in Willa Cather's fictional works about


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