Sunday, October 29, 2006

Death Comes For the Archbishop III

I have just finished Willa Cather's Death Comes For the Archbishop. It is a shame I took thirty years to read it. Cather, who died the year after I was born, creates a Santa Fe I recognize and, in Bishop Latour, a character worthy of Bishop Lamy.

Cather draws an insightful contrast between Fr. Joseph Vaillant and his companion and bishop, Jean Latour. Early in the book, she puts a most memorable sentence in the down-to-earth Fr. joseph Vaillant's mouth: "I noticed that scholars always manage to dig out something belittling." Willa Cather, Death Comes For the Archbishop (Thorndike, Me: Thorndike Press, 1984) p. 62.

Too true.

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