Willa Cather’s Prairie Two— “May E” Writes A Long Lost Short Story

I will share a Prairie post to come and one that leaves all suspense in the books and with just a glimpse in from my perspective, for your interest. I’ve read the first 2 from Willa Cather’s Prairie 3. As for her prose, it is wonderful, with long, very clear sentences and a style of writing that’s gracefully so.


Lunch today was had at that Book Cafe I’ve shared previously on the blog, which isn’t just a spot for lunch because of books at all—It has only very old, mostly reference-type books aplenty stacked high, but sometimes you may come upon a rare one that’s fiction, plays, or poetry. I found one of those today. It was a slim, tarnished yellow-paged volume titled, Best Short Stories (which was noted to be a part of a continued series of Best Short Stories.)

I came upon one in the book by an author named “May Edginton.” I thought, May Edginton…But not May Ziadeh.🙃💗😊

And Edginton sounded to me like a penname I would’ve made for myself.

My hands felt calm but how the page tore just a little as I touched it and began reading the story on such very, very old paper made me feel that a scary story this one might be…

And it was. I couldn’t find the full story online titled, “Purple and Fine Linen” by May Edginton published in 1926 and fitting in the time period with many other authors written about recently on Blush of Dawn. I found a short article critique of it. I’ll add that I think this story, ”Purple and Fine Linen” by May Edginton was actually even more a ghost story than that blogger critic had felt it was or maybe didn’t consider specifically, although genre-wise I agree vaguely part-romance, and maybe the extra ghostliness redeems it a little.

I felt there possibly was a twist that the single, obviously dead character unmentioned beforehand may not have been the only dead one, with the word, ”ghost” distinctly used after the story’s turning point toward the conclusion. But the word “ghost” could’ve been simply, more literally describing the protagonist woman’s newfound woe… But what if “ghost” was literal? Would that change the feel of the story?

May Edginton, this new author found, appears by chance directly after prairie novels by author, Willa Cather, the novels purchased ‘as a great craving that would not wait,’ along with the rest of the artists presented recently…This short story brings a Surprise Sagittarius to the blog: May Edginton who was born Dec. 20, 1883, a secret one, as it was written not much was known about this author…And so she arrives unexpectedly and with an air of mystery.

*This is the blogsite that critiqued the story.

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