Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little Town: Where History and Literature Meet

Overview

"An excellent juxtaposition for any reader of the 'Little House' books. Miller's meticulous research shows again that Wilder's remarkable memory of her early life provides readers with a graphic picture of the pioneer era. So does this book."—William T. Anderson, author of Laura Ingalls Wilder Country

"Accessible and compelling."—Susanne George, author of The Adventures of the Woman Homesteader: The Life and Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart

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Overview

"An excellent juxtaposition for any reader of the 'Little House' books. Miller's meticulous research shows again that Wilder's remarkable memory of her early life provides readers with a graphic picture of the pioneer era. So does this book."—William T. Anderson, author of Laura Ingalls Wilder Country

"Accessible and compelling."—Susanne George, author of The Adventures of the Woman Homesteader: The Life and Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart

Author Biography: John E. Miller, professor of history at South Dakota State University, is the author of Looking for History on Highway 14.

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Editorial Reviews

Lincoln Journal-Star
This book will give a deeper understanding of the 'Little House' novels, and a greater appreciaton for them.
Library Journal
Grounded in painstaking research of the Dakotas of the 1880s. . . . Will appeal to historians of the American frontier.
Wichita Eagle
Laura Ingalls Wilder's novels are acknowledged classics in American children's literature. Miller demonstrates that they are also respectable social history.
Library Journal
Miller Looking for History on Highway 14, Iowa State Univ. Pr., 1993 seeks to demonstrate how history both informs and is revealed in Laura Ingalls Wilder's novels. Taking concepts such as place and community, freedom and control, and love and affection, he considers how they operate in Wilder's novels of prairie life. He also tackles the question of the contribution of Wilder's daughter to the finished product, concluding that Rose Wilder Lane's editing greatly enhanced the novels' literary merit. Miller's final three chapters discuss the real world that lay beyond Wilder's family history, showing that much social and community life is left out of Wilder's books. Though grounded in painstaking research of the Dakotas of the 1880s, this book fails to demonstrate its thesis conclusively. The various topics do not cohere, and while we learn something of prairie history, it does not illuminate Ingall's writing. For ``Little House'' specialists and historians of the American frontier.-Marie L. Lally, Alabama Sch. of Mathematics & Science, Mobile
Booknews
Miller (history, South Dakota State U.) illustrates how Wilder's novels enhance her readers' understanding of history and how a historical perspective framed Wilder's fiction, while chronicling Rose Wilder Lane's efforts to publish and promote her mother's sentimental yet believable tales of family life on the frontier. Miller examines Wilder's environment, particularly the town of De Smet, South Dakota, the setting of four of the novels. Includes b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700607136
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,139,318
  • Product dimensions: 8.72 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.01 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction: At the Intersection of History and Literature 1
2 Place and Community in Wilder's De Smet 17
3 Freedom and Control in Fact and Fiction 35
4 Love and Affection in Wilder's Life and Writing 51
5 Fact and Interpretation in Wilder's Fiction 69
6 Narrative Rules and the Process of Storytelling 81
7 Textbook History versus Lived History 97
8 De Smet as Frontier Destination and Way Station 113
9 Relaxing and Building Community at the Couse Opera House 131
10 Two Artists of the Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder and Harvey Dunn 153
Notes 175
Index 203
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