Great Plains Literature (Discover the Great Plains)

Article number: PRATT GPL
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Great Plains Literature is an exploration of influential literature of the Plains region in both the United States and Canada. It reflects the destruction of the culture of the first people who lived there, the attempts of settlers to conquer the land, and the tragic losses and successes of settlement that are still shaping our modern world of environmental threat, ethnic and racial hostilities, declining rural communities, and growing urban populations.

In addition to featuring writers such as Ole Edvart Rölvaag, Willa Cather, and John Neihardt, who address the epic stories of the past, Great Plains Literature also includes contemporary writers such as Louis Erdrich, Kent Haruf, Ted Kooser, Rilla Askew, N. Scott Momaday, and Margaret Laurence. This literature encompasses a history of courage and violence, aggrandizement and aggression, triumph and terror. It can help readers understand better how today’s threats to the environment, clashes with Native people, struggling small towns, and rural migration to the cities reflect the same forces that were important in the past.
University of Nebraska Press: 2018 | Paperback: 186 pages

About the Author

Linda Ray Pratt is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the former executive vice president and provost of the University of Nebraska system. She is the author of Matthew Arnold Revisited.


"A worthwhile introduction to a body of literature perhaps not as well-known as it should be."  —Publishers Weekly

"Great Plains Literature is meant to be not just a guide, but an inspiration."  —Tom Isern, Prairie Public News 

"Great Plains Literature is a fascinating introduction to the literary life west of Kansas City. . . . There is something here for everybody, with coverage of classical writers like Ole Edvart Rolvaag and Willa Cather as well as their predecessors and contemporary writers. One will find here writers from the region that they might not have heard of but who should be on the reading list; the book is full of pleasant surprises for those who are serious about understanding this place."  —Ryder Miller, San Francisco Book Review

"A compact exploration of the history of the Great Plains as told through a thoughtfully selected collection of stories about the region."  —Matthew J. C. Cella, Western American Literature

"In Great Plains Literature Linda Ray Pratt surveys historical and contemporary regional authors with depth and complexity. A joy to read, Pratt's study offers scholarly insight while maintaining popular accessibility."  —Molly P. Rozum, Annals of Iowa 
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