Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Karem, Frederick

Subject Headings

Cather, Willa, 1873-1947. Professors house, American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism, Liminality in literature, Home in literature, Masculinity in literature, Memory in literature, willa willa cather cather liminal liminality liminal identity identity the professors house professor outland domesticity masculinity memory


Willa Cather develops the Professor and Tom Outland's identities in the novel The Professor's House through the lenses of domesticity, masculinity, and memory. For the Professor and Tom Outland, these identities are liminal and influenced by the landscape and space around them. Although both liminal, these identities are ultimately different, as the Professor's liminality seems to artificially have an affect on Tom as the novel reads on. Through defining the two main characters in the novel as liminal, Cather makes a comment on a modern shift in the concept of identity, suggesting that as time goes on and values change, we all will struggle with liminality. The Professor's House is an ontological study, filled with ambiguities and open to many readings. The liminal is the best explanation of what happens to the Professor and Outland throughout the novel, and one that enables the reader to not only understand more about contemporary trends in Cather studies, but also understand more about the nature of being