In this Book

summary
The tallgrass prairie of the early 1800s, a beautiful and seemingly endless landscape of wildflowers and grasses, is now a tiny remnant of its former expanse. As a literary landscape, with much of the American environmental imagination focused on a mainstream notion of more spectacular examples of wild beauty, tallgrass is even more neglected. Prairie author and advocate John T. Price wondered what it would take to restore tallgrass prairie to its rightful place at the center of our collective identity.

The answer to that question is his Tallgrass Prairie Reader, a first-of-its-kind collection of literature from and about the tallgrass bioregion. Focusing on autobiographical nonfiction in a wide variety of forms, voices, and approaches—including adventure narrative, spiritual reflection, childhood memoir, Native American perspectives, literary natural history, humor, travel writing and reportage—he honors the ecological diversity of tallgrass itself and provides a range of models for nature writers and students.

The chronological arrangement allows readers to experience tallgrass through the eyes and imaginations of forty-two authors from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Writings by very early explorers are followed by works of nineteenth-century authors that reflect the fear, awe, reverence, and thrill of adventure rampant at the time. After 1900, following the destruction of the majority of tallgrass, much of the writing became nostalgic, elegiac, and mythic. A new environmental consciousness asserted itself midcentury, as personal responses to tallgrass were increasingly influenced by larger ecological perspectives. Preservation and restoration—informed by hard science—emerged as major themes. Early twenty-first-century writings demonstrate an awareness of tallgrass environmental history and the need for citizens, including writers, to remember and to help save our once magnificent prairies.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xi-xxxi
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  1. Map of the Original Tallgrass Region
  2. p. xxxii
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  1. Children of the Sun and Moon, as told by Black Dog (Osage)
  2. pp. 1-2
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  1. A Tallgrass Commonplace, 1673–1872
  2. pp. 3-12
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  1. The Nineteenth Century
  2. pp. 13-14
  1. Prairie Mirage
  2. Edwin James
  3. pp. 15-18
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  1. Life on the Prairies
  2. Washington Irving
  3. pp. 19-23
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  1. Prairie Burning
  2. George Catlin
  3. pp. 24-30
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  1. A Jaunt to the Looking-Glass Prairie and Back
  2. Charles Dickens
  3. pp. 31-35
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  1. Chicago
  2. Margaret Fuller
  3. pp. 36-41
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  1. Spring around Prairie Lodge
  2. Eliza Woodson Farnham
  3. pp. 42-46
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  1. Jumping Off
  2. Francis Parkman Jr.
  3. pp. 47-53
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  1. Phil and the Lost Boy
  2. John C. Van Tramp
  3. pp. 54-64
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  1. America’s Characteristic Landscape
  2. Walt Whitman
  3. pp. 65-70
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  1. A Blizzard
  2. Elizabeth B. Custer
  3. pp. 71-77
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  1. My Uncle’s Farm
  2. Mark Twain
  3. pp. 78-82
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  1. The Twentieth Century
  2. pp. 83-84
  1. A Runaway
  2. Francis La Flesche
  3. pp. 85-93
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  1. The Passing of the Prairies
  2. William J. Haddock
  3. pp. 94-101
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  1. The Prairie
  2. William A. Quayle
  3. pp. 102-113
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  1. A New World
  2. John Muir
  3. pp. 114-121
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  1. The Homestead on the Knoll
  2. Hamlin Garland
  3. pp. 122-127
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  1. The Great Spirit
  2. Zitkala-Ša
  3. pp. 128-131
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  1. The Plant Tribes
  2. Melvin R. Gilmore
  3. pp. 132-137
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  1. Drought
  2. Meridel Le Sueur
  3. pp. 138-146
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  1. Planting Moon
  2. John Joseph Mathews
  3. pp. 147-155
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  1. Prairie Birthday
  2. Aldo Leopold
  3. pp. 156-160
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  1. July
  2. Josephine W. Johnson
  3. pp. 161-167
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  1. Three Worlds
  2. Winifred M. Van Etten
  3. pp. 168-183
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  1. The Running Country
  2. John Madson
  3. pp. 184-202
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  1. Horizontal Grandeur
  2. Bill Holm
  3. pp. 203-207
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  1. Under Old Nell’s Skirt
  2. William Least Heat-Moon
  3. pp. 208-213
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  1. Habits of the Grass
  2. Drake Hokanson
  3. pp. 214-224
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  1. Big Grass
  2. Louise Erdrich
  3. pp. 225-230
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  1. Playing God on the Lawns of the Lord
  2. Teresa Jordan
  3. pp. 231-237
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  1. What the Prairie Teaches Us
  2. Paul Gruchow
  3. pp. 238-240
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  1. Enclosure
  2. Richard Manning
  3. pp. 241-246
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  1. The Grasshopper Year
  2. Mary Swander
  3. pp. 247-257
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  1. Tallgrass Dream
  2. Don Gayton
  3. pp. 258-268
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  1. Tanji na Che: Recovering the Landscape of the Ioway
  2. Lance M. Foster
  3. pp. 269-280
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  1. The Twenty-First Century
  2. pp. 281-282
  1. Far Brought
  2. Lisa Knopp
  3. pp. 283-296
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  1. Pulling Weeds: Community
  2. Cindy Crosby
  3. pp. 297-302
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  1. Finding Devonian
  2. Thomas Dean
  3. pp. 303-310
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  1. Man Killed by Pheasant
  2. John T. Price
  3. pp. 311-318
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  1. Getting to Know Your Neighbors
  2. Steven I. Apfelbaum
  3. pp. 319-329
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  1. Platanthera praeclara
  2. Benjamin Vogt
  3. pp. 330-332
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  1. Constellation
  2. Elizabeth Dodd
  3. pp. 333-346
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  1. Permissions
  2. pp. 347-350
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 351-352
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781609383107
Related ISBN
9781609382469
MARC Record
OCLC
880877886
Pages
384
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-08
Language
English
Open Access
No
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