O Pioneers!

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Bantam Books, 1989 - Fiction - 199 pages
53 Reviews
"This early novel is now held to be a very critical and pivotal one in the whole development of the novelist, and this new edition provides . . . a fine printing for readers".-Choice. "A definitive edition of Cather's second novel . . . [that] sets a high standard of quality. . . . David Stouck's comprehensive and cogent historical essay . . . captures not only the life of Cather's text but also provides insight into Cather's imagination and artistic process".-Western American Literature. This is the definitive text of O Pioneers! that appeared in the clothbound Willa Cather Scholarly Edition published by the University of Nebraska Press in 1992. Adhering to the standards set by the Committee for Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association, the editors have been faithful in every detail to Cather's intentions as she prepared the manuscript for the first 1913 edition. Printer's errors, spelling of some foreign names, and inconsistencies in dialect and certain stylistic matters, as well as Cather's later corrections, have all been addressed and corrected. Cather's novel of life on the Nebraska frontier was a critical and popular success (over forty printings) and still speaks to readers today. Susan Rosowski and Charles Mignon are professors of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Kathleen Danker is an assistant professor of English at South Dakota State University. David Stouck is a professor of English at Simon Fraser University.

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User Review  - richardderus - LibraryThing

Rating: 3.75* of five The Publisher Says: Set on the Nebraska prairie where Willa Cather (1873–1947) grew up, this powerful early novel tells the story of the young Alexandra Bergson, whose dying ... Read full review

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User Review  - Pferdina - LibraryThing

Alexandra Bergson tames the prairie and gets no respect. Her oldest brothers are idiots. She sends the youngest to college and he turns out well, but then he falls in love with their neighbor Marie ... Read full review

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About the author (1989)

Wila Cather was probably born in Virginia in 1873, although her parents did not register the date, and it is probably incorrectly given on her tombstone. Because she is so famous for her Nebraska novels, many people assume she was born there, but Wila Cather was about nine years old when her family moved to a small Nebraska frontier town called Red Cloud that was populated by immigrant Swedes, Bohemians, Germans, Poles, Czechs, and Russians. The oldest of seven children, she was educated at home, studied with a Latin neighbor, and read the English classics in the evening. By the time she went to the University of Nebraska in 1891–where she began by wearing boy’s clothes and cut her hair close to her head–she had decided to be a writer.

After graduation she worked for a Lincoln, Nebraska, newspaper, then moved to Pittsburgh and finally to New York City. There she joined McClure’s magazine, a popular muckraking periodical that encouraged the writing of new young authors. After meeting the author Sarah Orne Jewett, she decided to quit journalism and devote herself full time to fiction. Her first novel, Alexander’s Bridge, appeared in serial form in McClure’s in 1912. But her place in American literature was established with her first Nebraska novel, O Pioneers!, published in 1913, which was followed by her most famous pioneer novel, My Antonia, in 1918. In 1922 she won the Pulitzer Prize for one of her lesser-known books. One of Ours. Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927), her masterpiece, and Shadows on the Rock (1931) also celebrated the pioneer spirit, but in the Southwest and French Canada. Her other novels include The Song of the Lark (1915), The Professor’s House (1925), My Mortal Enemy (1926), and Lucy Gayheart (1935). Wila Cather died in 1947.

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