Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilNuméros77General SectionReviving the Spirit of Edgar Alla...

General Section

Reviving the Spirit of Edgar Allan Poe: The Hy“poe”text in Three Stories by Willa Cather

Stéphanie Maerten
p. 259-275


Willa Cather started her career as a short story writer and never abandoned the form. Edgar Allan Poe’s influence on the young Willa Cather is undeniable and several of her stories clearly bear the imprint of the short fiction master. She later disowned her apprenticeship work describing it as “imitative and artificial.” Yet, her early stories contributed to shaping her literary identity. This paper examines several short stories in which the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe is palpable. “The Dance at Chevalier’s” and “The Affair at Grover Station” (1900) are stories of revenge and murder; “Consequences” (1916) explores the motif of the double, coupled with a suspicious death. These texts inevitably remind the reader of Poe’s most famous tales. The aim here is to determine in which way hypertextuality—to use Gerard Genette’s terminology—manifests itself. The three “imitative” stories are thus read in relation to their hypotexts, at the thematic, stylistic and structural levels, in order to shed light on Cather’s writing process.

Willa Cather débute sa carrière par l’écriture de nouvelles et n’abandonnera jamais cette forme. L’influence d’Edgar Allan Poe sur la jeune écrivaine est incontestable et plusieurs de ses premiers écrits portent clairement son empreinte. Elle désavouera par la suite ce travail d’apprentissage en le décrivant comme « imitatif et artificiel ». Il contribuera pourtant à façonner son identité littéraire. Cet article examine trois nouvelles dans lesquelles l’esprit d’Edgar Allan Poe est palpable. “The Dance at Chevalier’s” et “The Affair at Grover Station” (1900), abordent les thèmes de la vengeance et du meurtre ; “Consequences” (1916) explore le motif du double, assorti d’une mort suspecte. Ces textes rappellent inévitablement au lecteur les contes les plus célèbres de Poe. Il s’agit donc de déterminer de quelle manière l’hypertextualité – pour reprendre la terminologie de Gérard Genette – s’y manifeste. Les récits « imitatifs » sont ici lus en relation avec leurs hypotextes, aux niveaux thématique, stylistique et structurel, afin d’éclairer le processus d’écriture de Cather.

Haut de page

Extrait du texte

Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en décembre 2023.


How to Write a Poesque Article
The Tell-Tale Ghosts
Facing Literary Doubles

Aperçu du texte

Although she is mainly remembered for her frontier novels, Willa Cather started her career as a short story writer, publishing regularly in magazines and experimenting with all types of fiction. Some of her early stories were influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, a master of the short story, and a key figure of the American Renaissance. In a tribute speech she delivered in 1895, Cather highly praises Poe who revealed the artistic potential of the short story and laid its theoretical foundations; the one, she explains, who “found short story writing a bungling makeshift” and “left it perfect art” (“Edgar Allan Poe” 895). She conscientiously applied his theories in several of her short stories although she later disowned them, describing them as “imitative and artificial” (O’Brien 196). She was still in an experimental phase of her writing and gradually found “her own writing material.” Yet, it cannot be denied that Cather’s apprenticeship work contributed to shaping her literary identity. S...

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Stéphanie Maerten, « Reviving the Spirit of Edgar Allan Poe: The Hy“poe”text in Three Stories by Willa Cather »Journal of the Short Story in English, 77 | 2021, 259-275.

Référence électronique

Stéphanie Maerten, « Reviving the Spirit of Edgar Allan Poe: The Hy“poe”text in Three Stories by Willa Cather »Journal of the Short Story in English [En ligne], 77 | Autumn 2021, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2023, consulté le 02 juin 2023. URL :

Haut de page


Stéphanie Maerten

Stéphanie Maerten is an agrégée teacher of English and an independent scholar who lectures at Artois University. She has written articles on Willa Cather’s My Ántonia, and on the short fiction of several women authors such as Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Elizabeth Spencer, and Joyce Carol Oates. She is interested in women studies and in the development of the short story genre.

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur


Creative Commons - Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International - CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Haut de page
  • OpenEdition Journals
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search