The circulation of semiological systems in fictional communities is perhaps the backbone of literary cultural anthropology. Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House provides a boldly elusive ontological framework of relationships that result in the formation of social codes, messaging, and gestures. Using anthropological scaffolding laid out by Clifford Geertz’s semiotic webs, we can uncover the deeper meanings of character development in the text as a study on Cather’s time. These webs in the novel are created, enhanced, and signified by overarching experiences with family, masculinity, mourning, queer desire, academic ambitions, cultural preservation, and tonal associations of post-war America. The greatest phenotypic…

Charlie Havenick

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