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An incisive inquiry into matters of fate and fallibility, Alexanders Bridge (1912) raises questions that trouble us still. Willa Cather examines questions of autonomy and responsibility as she explores the arc and descent of Bartley Alexander, a successful bridge builder who has surmounted humble beginnings to experience fame, wealth, and finally, a preventable death in the prime of his life. As such, Alexanders story may remind readers of the stories of countless others whose outsized lives, mishaps, and deaths appear in todays newspapers and television news shows.