One of America s greatest women writers, Willa Cather established her talent and her reputation with this extraordinary novel the first of her books set on the Nebraska frontier. A tale of the prairie land encountered by America s Swedish, Czech, Bohemian, and French immigrants, as well as a story of how the land challenged them, changed them, and, in some cases, defeated them, Cather s novel is a uniquely American epic.
Alexandra Bergson, a young Swedish immigrant girl who inherits her father s farm and must transform it from raw prairie into a prosperous enterprise, is the first of Cather s great heroines all of them women of strong will and an even stronger desire to overcome adversity and succeed. But the wild land itself is an equally important character in Cather s books, and her descriptions of it are so evocative, lush, and moving that they provoked writer Rebecca West to say of her: The most sensuous of writers, Willa Cather builds her imagined world almost as solidly as our five senses build the universe around us.
Willa Cather, perhaps more than any other American writer, was able to re-create the real drama of the pioneers, capturing for later generations a time, a place, and a spirit that has become part of our national heritage."
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CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book
"This beautifully produced book is a joy to read and demonstrates the real pleasures to be derived from meticulous attention to detail and the highest standards of scholarship."—American Literary Scholarship.
"The first of the Cather Scholarly Editions sets a high standard of quality. . . . Text and context reveal the splendor of O Pioneers! and enrich both the experience and study of Cather’s extraordinary prose."—Western American Literature.
Willa Cather said that O Pioneers! was her first authentic novel, "the first time I walked off on my own feet—everything before was half real and half an imitation of writers whom I admired." Cather’s novel of life on the Nebraska frontier established her reputation as a writer of great note and marked a significant turning point in her artistic development. No longer would she let literary convention guide the form of her writing; the materials themselves would dictate the structure.
The paperback edition contains all the text and scholarly apparatus found in the original Willa Cather Scholarly Edition. Edited according to standards set by the Committee for Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association, this volume presents the full range of biographical, historical, and textual information on the novel.From the Back Cover:
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 father leaves her in charge of the family and of the lands they have struggled to farm. In Alexandra's long flight to survive and succeed, O Pioneers! relates an important chapter in the history of the American frontier.
Evoking the harsh grandeur of the prairie, this landmark of American fiction unfurls a saga of love, greed, murder, failed dreams, and hard-won triumph. In the fateful interaction of her characters, Willa Cather compares with keen insight the experiences of Swedish, French, and Bohemian immigrants in the United States. And in her absorbing narrative, she displays the virtuoso storytelling skills that have made her one of the most admired masters of the American novel.
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