O Pioneers Scholarly HB

Article number: CATHER OP SCHOL HB
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Edited by Susan J. Rosowski and Charles W. Mignon with Kathleen Danker - Historical essay and explanatory notes by David Stouck

"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

"The land belongs to the future... that's the way it seems to me... I might as well try to will the sunset over there to my brother's children. We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it -- for a little while."

O Pioneers! (1913) was Willa Cather's first great novel, and to many it remains her unchallenged masterpiece. No other work of fiction so faithfully conveys both the sharp physical realities and the mythic sweep of the transformation of the American frontier -- and the transformation of the people who settled it. Cather's heroine is Alexandra Bergson, who arrives on the wind-blasted prairie of Hanover, Nebraska, as a girl and grows up to make it a prosperous farm. But this archetypal success story is darkened by loss, and Alexandra's devotion to the land may come at the cost of love itself.

At once a sophisticated pastoral and a prototype for later feminist novels, O Pioneers! is a work in which triumph is inextricably enmeshed with tragedy, a story of people who do not claim a land so much as they submit to it and, in the process, become greater than they were.

Susan J. Rosowski (1942-2004). Rosowski was a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and authored The Voyage Perilous: Willa Cather's Romanticism (1986) and series editor of Cather Studies, both published by the University of Nebraska Press. Charles Mignon is a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mignon is editor of Edward Taylor's Upon the Types of the Old Testament (University of Nebraska Press, 1989). Kathleen Danker is an assistant professor of English at South Dakota State University. David Stouck is a professor of English at Simon Fraser University and author of Willa Cather's Imagination (University of Nebraska Press, 1975).

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