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The Only Wonderful ThingsThe Creative Partnership of Willa Cather & Edith Lewis$
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Melissa J. Homestead

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780190652876

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190652876.001.0001

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The Edith Lewis Ghost

(p.315) Epilogue
The Only Wonderful Things

Melissa J. Homestead

Oxford University Press

This epilogue turns back to the years immediately following Cather’s death to reveal how Edith Lewis was transformed from Cather’s domestic partner and trusted literary collaborator into a ridiculous specter. It focuses on, E. K. Brown, whom Lewis had commissioned to write a biography of Cather, and Willa Cather’s old friend Dorothy Canfield Fisher as they observed Lewis—or, more to the point, often failed to see her for what she was. When Brown died before completing the biography, a crisis briefly ensued. The epilogue argues that the mythology about Edith Lewis and her near vanishing from Cather biography emerged at this moment of crisis, which coincided with the Cold War panic over homosexuality. It closes with an analysis of Cather and Lewis’s New Hampshire gravesite.

Keywords:   Cold War, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, E. K. Brown, biography, lesbian history, literary executorship

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