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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $15.00
  • December 2007
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92466-4
  • 496 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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O Pioneers!

Norton Critical Editions


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Willa Cather (Author), Sharon O'Brien (Editor, Dickinson College)


Willa Cather's masterful 1913 novel marks her return to the Nebraska of her youth, and to the stories of the immigrant settlers she had known during her childhood and teenage years in Red Cloud.

This Norton Critical Edition brings to life—through Cather's words, and through the words and images of others—the uniquely American frontier experience. In inscribing a copy of O Pioneers! for a childhood friend, Cather wrote, "In this one I hit the home pasture…" "Contexts and Backgrounds" includes a rich selection of autobiographical and biographical remembrances (including three interviews with Cather), literary contexts (by Cather and her contemporaries, Henry James and Sarah Orne Jewett), and writings on the American West (including selected letters that paint a picture of one family's life on the Nebraska prairie). "Criticism" provides seven contemporary reviews and eight modern critical interpretations by David Stouck, John J. Murphy, C. Susan Wiesenthal, Marilee Lindemann, Melissa Ryan, Guy Reynolds, and Sharon O'Brien.


    List of Illustrations



    A Note on the Text

    The Text of O Pioneers!

    Contexts and Backgrounds


    1. Elizabeth Sergeant [From Willa Cather: A Memoir’]
    2. 1913 Interview
    3. 1915 Interview
    4. 1921 Interview
    5. Latrobe Carroll – “Willa Sibert Cather”
    6. Dorothy Canfield Fischer – “Willa Cather, Daughter of the Frontier”
    7. Willa Cather – “Preface” to Alexander’s Bridge
    8. Willa Cather – “My First Novels: There Were Two”


    1. Willa Cather – “Peter”
    2. Willa Cather – “A Wagner Matinee”
    3. Willa Cather – [On Henry James]
    4. Henry James – From “The Lesson of the Master”
    5. Edith Wharton – From The House of Mirth
    6. Willa Cather – “The Willing Muse”
    7. Sarah Orne Jewett – [Letters to Willa Cather]
    8. Willa Cather – “Miss Jewett”
    9. Sarah Orne Jewett – “A White Heron”
    10. Willa Cather – From Alexander’s Bridge
    11. Willa Cather – “The Bohemian Girl”
    12. Willa Cather – [On Whitman]
    13. Walt Whitman – “Pioneers! O Pionners!”


    1. The Oblinger Letters – Library of Congress, “American Memory” site
    2. Everett Dick – [From The Sod-House Frontier]
    3. Frederick Jackson Turner – [From “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”]
    4. Willa Cather – “Nebraska: The End of the First Cycle”
    5. Joseph Alexis – From “Swedes in Nebraksa” (paper read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical Society, January 22, 1914)
    6. Sarka B. Hrbkova – “Bohemians in Nebraska (Publications of the Nebraska State Historical Society, 19)
    7. Rose Rosicky – From A History of the Czechs (Bohemians) in Nebraska
    8. Mike Fischer – [From “Willa Cather and the Burden of Imperialism”]



    1. From Boston Evening Transcript
    2. From Chicago Evening Post
    3. From McClure’s Magazine
    4. From Bookman
    5. From Lincoln Sunday State Journal
    6. From Nation
    7. From New York Times Book Review


    1. David Stouck – [Willa Cather and the Epic]
    2. John J. Murphy – [Biblical and Literary Contexts in O Pioneers!]
    3. Sharon O’Brien – [Gender and Creativity in O Pioneers!]
    4. C. Susan Wiesenthal – ‘Female Sexuality in Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! and the Era of
    5. Scientific Sociology: A Dialogue between Frontiers”
    6. Marilee Lindemann – [From “Introduction” to O Pioneers!]
    7. Melissa Ryan – “The Enclosure of America: Civilization and Confinement in O Pioneers!
    8. Guy Reynolds – [Willa Cather and the Pioneer Myth]

    Willa Cather: A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography