All of the four new stories collected in Youth and the Bright Medusa concern the problems of professional musicians—singers—and as a group they develop the theme of the artist as celebrity, the relationship to society resulting from the pressure of popular fame, and the personal cost to the artist exacted by a life devoted to pleasing one's ‘‘public.’’ It was a theme that was gaining currency swiftly in Cather' s life, as her books became ever more widely sold and openly praised, making demands on her privacy she had not wholly anticipated. It was also a major strand...
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