A Great Plains Reader / Edition 1

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Overview


The Great Plains are as rich and integral a part of American literature as they are of the North American landscape. In this volume the stories, poems, and essays that have described, celebrated, and defined the region evoke the world of the American prairie from the first recorded days of Native history to the realities of life on a present-day reservation, from the arrival of European explorers to the experience of early settlers, from the splendor of the vast and rolling grasslands to the devastation of the Dust Bowl. Several essays look to the future and explore changes that would embolden the people of the Plains to continue to call home this place they have learned to value in spite of its persistent challenges.
 
The infinite variety of the Great Plains landscape and its people unfolds in works by writers as diverse as Willa Cather, Loren Eiseley, Louise Erdrich (Ojibwe), Diane Glancy (Cherokee), Langston Hughes, Wes Jackson, Garrison Keillor, William Least Heat-Moon, Kathleen Norris, Wright Morris, Francis Parkman, O. E. Rölvaag, Mari Sandoz, William Stafford, Mark Twain, Douglas Unger, James Welch (Blackfeet), and Canadians Sharon Butala and Sinclair Ross. From tribal histories to the impressions of travelers today, from tales of isolation and nature’s furious storms to accounts of efforts to build communities, from flights of fancy to nuanced observations of the ecology of the grasslands, this comprehensive volume provides a history of the intricate relationships of land and people in the Great Plains.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is an eclectic mix of stories, poems, and essays that explore the rich texture of the Great Plains landscape and people. The literary selections, chosen by editors Quantic (English & Great Plains studies, Wichita State Univ.) and Hafen (English, Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas), are divided into five sections-"The Lay of the Land," "Natives and Newcomers on the Great Plains," "Arriving and Settling In," "Adapting to a New Country," and "The Great Plains Community"-and represent authors such as William Stafford, N. Scott Momaday, Kathleen Norris, O.E. Rolvaag, Willa Cather, James Welch, and Paul A. Johnsgard. The readings, as rich as the landscape, address geography, ecology, history, the transformation of the land, the adaptation of people to climate and isolation, and the experience of the Great Plains as both a sense of place and a state of mind. An excellent selection of writing, this is strongly recommended for all academic and public libraries.-Sue Samson, Univ. of Montana, Missoula Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Booklist

"The land of linear horizons, the Great Plains summon imagination from any writer who would set a poem, novel, or essay in them. From the explorers, settlers, and Native Americans who have done so, the editors anchor this anthology with famous scriveners such as James Fenimore Cooper, Willa Cather, and Louise Erdrich, as well as a wealth of authors far less famed. . . . This treasury contains more than 100 excerpted selections. Well worth a library's consideration."—Booklist
The Oklahoma Observer

“One of the great features of this work is that one does not need to read the entire book to get a flavor for the rich and infinite variety of the people and landscape that make the Great Plains a truly unique experience and place. You can turn to virtually any story, essay, or poem and immediately become immersed into a region that has been praised and cussed from the arrival of European explorers and settlers to present day inhabitants.”—Mike Nobles, The Oklahoma Observer

— Mike Nobles

The Santa Fe New Mexican

"Here is a delightful potpourri of poems, essays, excerpts from longer works and short stories about the Great Plains."—Phaedra Greenwood, The Santa Fe New Mexican
Journal of the West

“The collection is a fine introduction to a misunderstood place that still inspires reflection.”—Kenneth E. Hada, Journal of the West
Great Plains Quarterly

"A marvelous collection of prose and poetry, fiction and non-fiction reflecting varied responses to the land and its inhabitants. . . . Yet like the blow-out penstemon, the text contains equally beautiful works that might otherwise go unnoticed by the student for whom this collection serves as an introduction to Plains literature and can also be appreciated by a more seasoned, native reader. . . . [A Great Plains Reader] introduces its audience to a complex ecosystem, a rich narrative tradition and history, and an evolving physical and psychological landscape. But they also create a subject-a Great Plains reader-who will want not only to absorb the readings that object contains, but also to be challenged anew in thinking about the ways the land and writing about the land shape who we are."—Philip R. Coleman-Hull, Great Plains Quarterly

— Philip R. Coleman-Hull

Virginia Quarterly Review

"Informing, revealing, confirming, infuriating, and always holding our interest, this anthology is a masterful fusion of history and myth."—Ed Imhoff, Virginia Quarterly Review

— Ed Imhoff

Western American Literature

“The editor’s wide range of selections helps us understand that the whole truth of the region has not been told. . . . The general reader who knows little or nothing about the Plains will discover the region’s complexity by reading the selections, and those who know the subject from experience or study will discover a wide range of insights and subjects for further investigation.”—Robert L. Berner, Western American Literature

— Robert L. Berner

The Oklahoma Observer - Mike Nobles

“One of the great features of this work is that one does not need to read the entire book to get a flavor for the rich and infinite variety of the people and landscape that make the Great Plains a truly unique experience and place. You can turn to virtually any story, essay, or poem and immediately become immersed into a region that has been praised and cussed from the arrival of European explorers and settlers to present day inhabitants.”—Mike Nobles, The Oklahoma Observer
Great Plains Quarterly - Philip R. Coleman-Hull

"A marvelous collection of prose and poetry, fiction and non-fiction reflecting varied responses to the land and its inhabitants. . . . Yet like the blow-out penstemon, the text contains equally beautiful works that might otherwise go unnoticed by the student for whom this collection serves as an introduction to Plains literature and can also be appreciated by a more seasoned, native reader. . . . [A Great Plains Reader] introduces its audience to a complex ecosystem, a rich narrative tradition and history, and an evolving physical and psychological landscape. But they also create a subject-a Great Plains reader-who will want not only to absorb the readings that object contains, but also to be challenged anew in thinking about the ways the land and writing about the land shape who we are."—Philip R. Coleman-Hull, Great Plains Quarterly
Virginia Quarterly Review - Ed Imhoff

"Informing, revealing, confirming, infuriating, and always holding our interest, this anthology is a masterful fusion of history and myth."—Ed Imhoff, Virginia Quarterly Review
Western American Literature - Robert L. Berner

“The editor’s wide range of selections helps us understand that the whole truth of the region has not been told. . . . The general reader who knows little or nothing about the Plains will discover the region’s complexity by reading the selections, and those who know the subject from experience or study will discover a wide range of insights and subjects for further investigation.”—Robert L. Berner, Western American Literature
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803288539
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 730
  • Sales rank: 541,059
  • Product dimensions: 1.48 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Diane D. Quantic is an associate professor of English and the coordinator of Great Plains studies at Wichita State University. She is the author of The Nature of the Place: A Study of Great Plains Fiction (Nebraska 1995). P. Jane Hafen (Taos Pueblo) is an associate professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is the editor of Zitkala-Sa’s Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems, and "The Sun Dance Opera" (Nebraska 2001).
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Table of Contents

Foreword: What Is in This Reader
Introduction: Toward a Definition of the Great Plains
The Nature of the Plains: Impressions 3
Excerpt from The Names 4
Excerpt from Great Plains 15
The Subtlety of Land 24
Loren Eiseley 37
Atop the Mound 44
Plains Nature: Natural Histories 49
The Lawns of God 50
In Response to a Question 68
Songs 70
Excerpt from The Rites of Autumn 73
Seasons of the Sandhill Crane 82
Spring 4 88
From a Naturalist's Notebook 93
Coffee Cup Cafe 95
Red Glow in the Western Sky 97
Under Old Nell's Skirt 100
Another Tornado Dream 105
The Question Mark in the Circle 107
First Stories: Native American Accounts 123
When the Buffalo Herd Went West 125
A Legend of Devil's Lake 130
The Great Vision 136
Crow Butte 151
The Holy Dog 152
Excerpt from Waterlily 154
Impressions of an Indian Childhood 166
Father's Milk 179
Grace 193
Deer Dancer 194
For Anna Mae Pictou Aquash ... 196
Deer Ghost 197
Stories of Exploration and Travel: Newcomers' Accounts 199
Excerpts from "The Narrative of the Expedition of Coronado" 202
Excerpt from The Lewis and Clark Journals 207
Excerpt from From Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains 218
On the Trail 231
October \ From the Back Screen of the Country 241
Excerpts from Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico 243
The Grand Prairie - A Buffalo Hunt 251
The Platte and the Desert 258
Preface to The Oregon Trail, 4th ed 266
Preface to The Oregon Trail, illustrated ed 268
Land of the Crippled Snake 270
Excerpts from Roughing It 273
Pioneers 285
Ishmael Bush's Camp 288
Prairie Land 297
Settlers 305
Calling Myself Home 307
Red Clay 308
Heritage 309
Return: Buffalo 310
Crossings 312
Among the Corn Rows 315
A Story of the Highlands 334
September \ Peru, Kansas 339
Home-founding 342
A New Homestead 369
The Farm on the Great Plains 374
God's Country 376
Excerpt from Killing Custer 389
Dear John Wayne 407
Surviving Nature's Storms 411
Wickedness 413
A Field of Wheat 426
Dust Bowl (A Sequence) 434
The Water Witch 437
Creating Communities in America 445
Neighbour Rosicky 447
Excerpt from Peder Victorious 471
The Christmas of the Phonograph Records 480
A Gravestone Made of Wheat 491
What the Indian Means to America 504
Americanize the First American 507
End of the Failed Metaphor 512
Oklahoma, 1922 520
The Great Plains Community 529
The Passing of Priscilla Winthrop 531
Dance 542
Carnival 552
The Old Halvorson Place 560
A Person in My Life 574
Wild Land 581
Excerpt from The Home Place 611
Excerpt from Badlands 622
Excerpt from Leaving the Land 629
A Tropical Holiday 641
Collection 651
Life Is Good 654
Home on the Range 659
Red-Letter Days 669
The Tomahawk Factory
Louise Erdrich 678
Going to the Post Office 694
The Rescued Year 698
Sustaining America's Grasslands 703
Sea Change 706
Matfield Green 713
Source Acknowledgments 723
Index of Works by Author 729
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic Book

    I love this book. You won't be able to find a better collection of representative literature about the Great Plains. Anyone who loves the plains or wants to know more about it will like this book. Each story is introduced by the editors with interesting background on authors.

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