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Pioneer Girl: The Revised Texts

Pioneer Girl: The Revised Texts


$49.95, Hardback
ISBN: 9781941813096

Pioneer Girl: The Revised Texts makes fresh observations that are sure to jump-start new debate and discussions centered on the writer-editor relationship between Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane. The annotations provide great documentary background and reveal the behind the scenes work that led to the now classic Little House series.”
—William Anderson

"The Revised Texts greatly simplifies comparisons among the drafts, offers new material for scholars in its annotations and careful textual comparisons, and provides new information for fans intrigued with the historical contexts and accuracy of the beloved children's books."—Elizabeth Jameson

For generations, the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder have defined the American frontier and the pioneer experience for the public at large. Pioneer Girl: The Revised Texts presents three typescripts of Wilder’s original Pioneer Girl manuscript in an examination of the process through which she and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, transformed her autobiography into the much-loved Little House series. As the women polished the narrative from draft to draft, a picture emerges of the working relationship between the women, of the lives they lived, and of the literary works they created.

Editor Nancy Tystad Koupal and other editors of the Pioneer Girl Project provide a meticulous study of the Wilder/Lane partnership as Wilder’s autobiography undergoes revision, and the women redevelop and expand portions of it into Wilder’s successful children’s and young adult novels and into Lane’s bestselling adult novels in the 1930s. The three revised texts of Pioneer Girl, set side by side, showcase the intertwined processes of writing and editing and the contributions of writer and editor. In background essays and annotations, Koupal and her team of editors provide historical context and explore the ways in which Wilder or Lane changed and reused the material.

Wilder and Lane’s partnership has been the subject of longstanding speculation, but Pioneer Girl: The Revised Texts is the first work to explore the women’s relationship by examining the evolution of surviving manuscripts. Showcasing differences in the texts and offering numerous additional documents and handwritten emendations, the editors create a rich resource for scholars to use in assessing the editorial and writing principles, choices, and reasoning that Lane employed to shape the manuscripts for publication. Readers can follow along as Wilder grows into a novelist that “no depression could stop.”

The New York Times best seller, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography (2014), edited by Pamela Smith Hill, gave the general reader easy access to Wilder’s original account for the first time, but that book only scratched the surface of available textual and archival materials. Ultimately, the editors of Pioneer Girl: The Revised Texts employ the rich resource of letters between Wilder and her publisher and between Wilder and Lane, along with rough drafts and false starts of the Little House books, to inform scholars and readers about the original manuscript’s metamorphosis into novels and about the intriguing editorial relationship between Wilder and Lane. Pioneer Girl: The Revised Texts deepens our understanding of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the process through which she would ultimately become an icon of young adult literature.

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