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Pioneer Girl Perspectives

Exploring Laura Ingalls Wilder

Pioneer Girl Perspectives


$29.95, Hardback
ISBN: 9781941813089

"That Pioneer Girl and Wilder's other books maintain their power is a testament to her skill as a writer. The staying power of these stories also remind us why historical and literary analysis is so important, perhaps now more than ever. Stories are powerful. The critical analysis challenging and informing them, as in this book, needs to be as well."—Laura Woodsworth-Ney, Missouri Historical Review 

“The essays offer a rich diversity of subject matter. . . . [striking] a balance between hagiography and expose; all are even-handed in their treatment of Wilder’s life and writing, not glossing over views she held that clash with modern sensibilities. These informative essays will be of considerable interest to Wilder fans and scholars.”—Publishers Weekly

"Speaking as a lifelong reader of all things Little House-related, I can't recommend this book too highly. Following the publication of the peerless Pioneer Girl, The Annotated Autobiography, this new book is the perfect appendix, and then some. Edited (superbly) and introduced by Nancy Tystad Koupal, . . . this collection of scholarly, informative, and compelling essays provide the reader with much invaluable information, lore, facts, and in-depth studies of every nature of Laura's life, the inception, composition and publication of her books, what the back stories are; the realities, myths, and clarification of life out on the harsh, brutal prairies, the nature of pioneer living, and much in the way of psychological, cultural, and societal insights. Much of it is sobering, and even grim, but as always with the Ingalls and the Wilders, their steadfast spirit is a sure testament to their learned toughness and fortitude. Many lessons for living come through these pages."—Niel Rishoi, Amazon Reviewer

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867‒1957) finished her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, in 1930 when she was sixty-three years old. Throughout the 1930s and into the early 1940s, she drew upon her original manuscript to write a successful series of books for young readers. Wilder’s vision of life on the American frontier in the last half of the nineteenth century continues to draw new generations of readers to her Little House books.

Editor Nancy Tystad Koupal has collected essays from noted scholars of Wilder’s life and work that explore the themes and genesis of Wilder’s writings. Pioneer Girl Perspectives sheds new light on the story behind Wilder’s original manuscript and examines the ways in which the author and her daughter and editor, Rose Wilder Lane, worked to develop a marketable narrative. The essay contributors delve into the myths and realities of Wilder’s work to discover the real lives of frontier children, the influence of time and place on both Wilder and Lane, and the role of folklore in the Little House novels. Together, the essays give readers a deeper understanding of how Wilder built and managed her story.

Published over eighty years after its inception, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography edited by Pamela Smith Hill gave readers new insight into the truth behind Wilder’s fiction. Pioneer Girl Perspectives further demonstrates the importance of Wilder as an influential American author whose stories of growing up on the frontier remain relevant today.

Nancy Tystad Koupal is director and editor-in-chief of the Pioneer Girl Project and the South Dakota Historical Society Press. She received an M.A. in English from Morehead State University in Kentucky and did postgraduate work in American literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She founded the South Dakota Historical Society Press in 1997. Koupal is also the editor and annotator of Our Landlady (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996), a collection of L. Frank Baum’s satirical newspaper columns.

Pioneer Girl Perspectives: Exploring Laura Ingalls Wilder is a publication of the Pioneer Girl Project, which is a research and publishing program of the South Dakota State Historical Society.

William Anderson
Caroline Fraser
Michael Patrick Hearn
Elizabeth Jameson
Sallie Ketcham
Amy Mattson Lauters
John E. Miller
Paula M. Nelson
Ann Romines
Noel L. Silverman
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Visit pioneergirlproject.org for more.


About the Editor


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