A towering work of twentieth-century American literature, Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop tells the story of the French Catholic priest Jean Marie Latour, the first bishop of the diocese of New Mexico, which was created after the Mexican-American War. With his friend and vicar Joseph Vaillant, Latour makes the long journey to the newly annexed territory of New Mexico. Once "the cradle of the Faith in the New World," now old mission churches have fallen into ruin and a reduced priesthood lacks guidance and discipline. Latour and Vaillant encounter a strange and unfamiliar brand of Catholicism, but in time the two priests learn to adjust to the ways of New World Catholics and open their eyes to Native American religious ideas so seemingly distant from their own beliefs.
This new annotated edition of Cather's New Mexico masterpiece includes an introductory essay and notes by historian and critic Richard W. Etulain.
"The most sensuous of writers, Willa Cather builds her imagined world as solidly as our five senses build the universe around us."--Rebecca West
"A book to be read slowly, to be savored from paragraph to paragraph. . . . It is quite the most nearly perfect thing the author has done."--The Nation
"A truly remarkable book. . . . From the riches of her imagination and sympathy, Cather has distilled a very rare piece of literature."--New York Times Book Review
"Willa Cather's masterpiece. . . . It is one of the serenest, most mellow, most peaceful books ever written."--The Commonweal
Suggestions for Further Readings
A Note on the Text
Map of Archbishop Latour's New Mexico
Death Comes for the Archbishop