O Pioneers!

O Pioneers!

Paperback - 2008
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`For the first time, perhaps, since that land emerged from the waters of geologic ages, a human face was set toward it with love and yearning. It seemed beautiful to her, rich and strong and glorious.' Willa Cather's second novel, O Pioneers! (1913) tells the story of Alexandra Bergson and her determination to save her immigrant family's Nebraska farm. Clear-headed and fiercely independent, Alexandra's passionate faith in the prairie makes her a wealthy landowner. By placing a strong, self-reliant woman at the centre of her tale, Cather gives the quintessentially American novel of the soil a radical cast. Yet, although influenced by the democratic utopianism of Walt Whitman and the serene regionalism of Sarah Orne Jewett, O Pioneers! is more than merely anelegy for the lost glories of America's pioneer past. In its rage for order and efficiency, the novel testifies to the cultural politics of the Progressive Era, the period of massive social and economic transformations that helped to modernize the United States in the years between the Civil Warand World War.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2008]
ISBN: 9780199552320
0199552320
Characteristics: xxxi, 179 p. ; 20 cm.
Additional Contributors: Lindemann, Marilee

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This classic novel tells the story of a Swedish immigrant family at the turn of the 20th century struggling to save their Nebraska farm. Alexandra Bergson must assume responsibility for the farm and family after her father’s death. At a time when many immigrant families are leaving the prairie, B... Read More »

Cather's writing depicts the harsh life of pioneering immigrant farmers who settled the prairies of the western United States.


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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

O Pioneers is poetic and intelligent without losing focus on the story. That said, this story was a tad dry at times. I loved the language, and I liked the characters (though they were slightly formulaic), but I'd like to have seen a little more movement, a little more ambition.

JCLJoyceM Jun 19, 2015

This was the first Willa Cather book I ever read and was so charmed by her descriptions of the climate, the people, the perils they faced. We read it aloud as a family and all enjoyed it, even my teen daughter, who tried to read it previously. I told her she had to give it a second try.

1
1aa
Jun 16, 2015

Written in a quiet tone which is kept steady throughout the book, the story itself is written as of there are two chapters missing after every chapter, giving the impression of a series of brief narrative glances over the course of about forty years.

r
rwhite29
Jan 13, 2015

This is my favorite book of all time.

l
LDPBLM
Jun 02, 2012

Oh , I was certain that "My Antonia" was Cather's best - probably so - but this truly was good . The white mulberry tree chapter was an excellent example of Cather's best writing .

hermlou May 18, 2011

Cather published this book in 1913, so it is a true picture of Nebraska at that time. Pioneers had a lot of trials from injury, disease, and crop failure, and Cather tells it all honestly. Alexandra is the oldest of her family and has an ability to manage the farm, which her brothers contribute to with manual labor. I enjoyed Cather's lyric descriptions of the land and her references to baseball and law school in Ann Arbor. Most of all I liked the fact that this was not written in 2011 about 1913, with possible anachronisms.

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FavouriteFiction Oct 03, 2009

Alexandra Bergson's devotion to the land turns an empty prairie into a prosperous farm.

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