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Wilderness Plots is made up of fifty brief tales that chronicle the period of settlement of the Ohio Valley, roughly 1780 to 1850. Beginning with the discovery of the Ohio River by La Salle and ending with the Civil War, this region was the West, the exciting new frontier. Written with the power and compression of folklore, these tales bring to life the unmemorialized common folks who carried out this epic adventure. In these pages, you will meet preachers and profiteers, the boy who saved Cleveland, a love-crossed carpenter, generals and journalists, a hermit and a lawyer, farmers and bone collectors, lovers, layabouts, and a host of other high-spirited characters the kind of people who, in all ages, have made history. These stories, which condense entire lifetimes into single paragraphs, come out of a distinctive tradition in American literature. For this book reflects the experience of settling our entire wild, raucous, dangerous, and glorious continent. Our ancestors went through very much the same trials everywhere, from New England to California and Alaska. They wrestled with the land and its inhabitants for more than two centuries before there were any cities or industries to speak of, and since we have all been shaped by that prolonged wrestling, this encounter with the wilderness is one of the deepest, truest, and most abiding subjects in our literature.
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Born in Tennessee and reared in Ohio, Scott Russell Sanders studied in Rhode Island and in Cambridge, England, before going on to become a Distinguished Professor of English at Indiana University. Among his honors are the Mark Twain Award, the Lannan Literary Award, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He and his wife, Ruth, a biochemist, have reared two children in their hometown of Bloomington, in the hardwood hill country of Indiana's White River Valley.Review:
It would be difficult to find richer, more concise prose than that employed by Scott Sanders in this collection. ... Most of these tales resonate with the force of fine lyric poetry, and they come together beautifully to project aspects of the epic an American epic. ... [Wilderness Plots] is a stunning achievement. --The Georgia Review
Sanders's skillful writing makes these Ohio Valley pioneers come alive. He has written vignettes of two or three pages each about the odd and memorable people, and incidents that were talked about for years; the sort of thing that never seems to find its way into history volumes with any regularity. ... This is one of the best books of folk history around. --Sacramento (California) Bee
The language of these tales is chiseled, spare to the point of folklore: every word carries a lovely weight. ... Seldom has America's early story been so beautifully told. ... The book should appeal to anyone interested in Americana. It almost demands rereading: some may find its cumulative effect similar to that of Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology. --Publishers' Weekly
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Book Description The Wooster Book Company, 2013. Condition: New. Dennis B. Meehan (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M1590981820