Three Western Narratives

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Library of America, 2004 - History - 998 pages
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America’s first internationally acclaimed author, Washington Irving, was also one of the first to write about its then far-western frontier. After seventeen years in Europe, the famous author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” returned to America and undertook an extensive three-month journey through present-day Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Describing scenery and inhabitants with an eye to romantic sublimity and celebrating the frontiersman’s “secret of personal freedom,” Irving published his account of that journey in 1835 as A Tour on the Prairies, an early and distinctly American depiction of the young nation’s borderland and its native inhabitants.

Irving followed up this eyewitness account with two works that chart the dramatic and tumultuous history of the early American fur trade, very much in the spirit of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. Astoria(1836) recounts John Jacob Astor’s attempt to establish a commercial empire in the Pacific Northwest. The Adventures of Captain Bonneville(1837) is a lively saga of exploration among the mountains, rivers, and deserts of the Far West. While working closely from original documents, Irving wrote also as a mythologist of the vast spaces traversed by “Sindbads of the wilderness.” In these three compelling narratives he opened up a crucial region of the American literary imagination influencing such authors as Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville.

 

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Three western narratives

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The author's name immediately conjures visions of headless riders and long-sleeping hunters, but in his day Irving was a noted travel writer. This latest offering from the Library of America ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
7
The Pawnee hunting grounds Travelling
13
An Indian agency Riflemen Osages
20
Trail of the Osage hunters Departure
29
The honey camp
38
Amusements in the camp Consultations
44
Breaking up the encampmentPicturesque
49
THE CAMP OF THE GLEN Camp gossip
57
Departure from Fort OsageModes
643
Wide prairiesVegetable productions
650
An alarmCrow IndiansTheir appear
656
Blackfeet in the Horse PrairieSearch after
699
A winter camp in the wildernessMedley
709
Story ofKosato the renegade Blackfoot
719
A hunt after huntersHungry times
727
Misadventures of Matthieu and
735

Deer shootingLife on the prairies
63
A sick campThe marchThe disabled
73
A grand prairieCliff CastleBuffalo
82
THE CAMP OF THE WILD HORSE Hunters
90
The alarm camp
98
Beaver damBuffalo and horse
105
Scarcity of bread Rencontre with
109
Fording of the North Fork Dreary
116
A secret expedition Deer bleating
127
A comrade lost A search for the camp
138
A republic of prairie dogs
145
CHAPTER XXXFV Old Creek encampment Scarcity
154
OR ANECDOTES OF AN ENTERPRIZE
163
INTRODUCTION
179
Rise of the Mackinaw CompanyAttempts
194
INTRODUCTORY NOTICE
629
State of the fur trade of the Rocky Moun
635
Departure from Green River valley
774
Adventures of the party oftenThe
782
A retrograde moveChannel of
794
Nez PercesThe captains attempt at healing
838
Scenery of the WayleewayA substi
846
Fort WallahWallahIts comman
854
The difficult mountainA smoke
866
Plan of the Salt Lake expedition
875
CreekGrand RondFine pasturesPerplexities
918
Scarcity in the campRefusal of supplies
928
A festive winterConversion of
935
A rendezvous at Wind RiverCam
944
APPENDIX Mr Wyeth and the trade of the Far West 851
954
Chronology
959
Note on the Texts
984
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Washington Irving (1783-1859) was born in New York City, the youngest of 11 children. He became an author, essayist, poet, travel writer, biographer, and columnist and is renowned as the father of the American short story. He is best known for 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,' and 'Rip Van Winkle,' both of which appear in this collection. One of his greatest biographies includes The Life of George Washington (1855-59).