The Classroom Démueblé: Willa Cather and Maria Montessori

  • Jesse Raber


As an editor at McClure’s Magazine, Willa Cather oversaw the publication of the article that first introduced Maria Montessori to many US readers. Her encounter with Montessori’s ideas coincided with, and appears to have contributed to, her shift from the early prose style of Alexander’s Bridge to the mature style that begins with O Pioneers! This latter style shares Montessori’s emphasis on creating a structured, unfurnished space through which subconscious forces can be channeled. However, while Montessori sees these forces as wholly good, Cather sees them as both necessary and dangerous, and this difference leads Cather to politically reorient the Montessori framework from self-conscious progressivism to an ambivalent anti-progressivism. This chapter includes a sustained reading of Montessori’s aesthetic theory.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesse Raber
    • 1
  1. 1.School of the Art Institute of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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