A Death in the Desert

"A Death in the Desert"
Author Willa Cather
Country United States
Language English
Published in Scribner's Magazine
Publication type Magazine
Publication date 1903

"A Death in the Desert" is a short story by Willa Cather. It was first published in The Scribner's in January 1903.[1]

Plot summary

Everett is on a train from Holdrege, Nebraska to Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is a man that looks like his older prodigy brother Adriance--this similarity haunts him throughout the entire novel and robs him of his own personality. He will always be Adriance's brother.


Allusions to other works

Moreover, Gussie Davis's song In The Baggage Coach Ahead is mentioned - albeit 'in' is elided.[2]

Literary significance and criticism

It has been argued that the title of the story was influenced by Willa Cather's reading of Robert Browning.[3]

Allusions to Alexandre Dumas, fils' La dame aux camelias and Lucretius's De rerum natura have also been found.[4]


  1. Willa Cather's Collected Short Fiction, University of Nebraska Press; Rev Ed edition, 1 Nov 1970, page 217
  2. Stouck, David, 'Review of The Troll Garden, by Willa Cather', Great Plains Quarterly, 4:278
  3. Bernice Slote, 'Willa Cather and Her First Book', Willa Cather, April Twilights, University of Nebraska Press, 1968, page xi
  4. Woodress, James, The Troll Garden by Willa Cather, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983b, p. 126

External links

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