Great Plains Literature


Great Plains Literature

Linda Ray Pratt

Discover the Great Plains Series

186 pages
16 photographs, 1 map, index


March 2018


$16.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2018


$16.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2018


$16.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Great Plains Literature is an exploration of influential literature of the Plains region in both the United States and Canada. It reflects the destruction of the culture of the first people who lived there, the attempts of settlers to conquer the land, and the tragic losses and successes of settlement that are still shaping our modern world of environmental threat, ethnic and racial hostilities, declining rural communities, and growing urban populations.

In addition to featuring writers such as Ole Edvart Rölvaag, Willa Cather, and John Neihardt, who address the epic stories of the past, Great Plains Literature also includes contemporary writers such as Louis Erdrich, Kent Haruf, Ted Kooser, Rilla Askew, N. Scott Momaday, and Margaret Laurence. This literature encompasses a history of courage and violence, aggrandizement and aggression, triumph and terror. It can help readers understand better how today’s threats to the environment, clashes with Native people, struggling small towns, and rural migration to the cities reflect the same forces that were important in the past.

Author Bio

Linda Ray Pratt is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the former executive vice president and provost of the University of Nebraska system. She is the author of Matthew Arnold Revisited.


"A worthwhile introduction to a body of literature perhaps not as well-known as it should be."—Publishers Weekly

"Great Plains Literature is meant to be not just a guide, but an inspiration."—Tom Isern, Prairie Public News

"Great Plains Literature is a fascinating introduction to the literary life west of Kansas City. . . . There is something here for everybody, with coverage of classical writers like Ole Edvart Rolvaag and Willa Cather as well as their predecessors and contemporary writers. One will find here writers from the region that they might not have heard of but who should be on the reading list; the book is full of pleasant surprises for those who are serious about understanding this place."—Ryder Miller, San Francisco Book Review

"A compact exploration of the history of the Great Plains as told through a thoughtfully selected collection of stories about the region."—Matthew J. C. Cella, Western American Literature

"In Great Plains Literature Linda Ray Pratt surveys historical and contemporary regional authors with depth and complexity. A joy to read, Pratt's study offers scholarly insight while maintaining popular accessibility."—Molly P. Rozum, Annals of Iowa

“The range and depth of the survey richly attest to the literary wealth accruing in a remarkable landscape formerly misconstrued as ‘the great American desert’ or the ‘flyover zone.’”—O. Alan Weltzien, author of Exceptional Mountains: A Cultural Geography of the Pacific Northwest Volcanoes


“Revelatory and keen to the scent of tragedy, Pratt’s chapters illuminate the small and large scales on which life unfolds, within family, region, and national history. Great Plains Literature is a must-read for students and scholars of this grand region, a comprehensive yet intimate and personal survey of a literary landscape of international importance.”—Susan Naramore Maher, author of Deep Map Country: Literary Cartography of the Great Plains

“A concise and compelling survey of more than two centuries worth of American and Canadian masters, writers who mediate between extremes of idealism and intolerance, democracy and imperialism, wealth and poverty, as they situate their work against the vast landscapes and forbidding climate of the central Plains. . . . Readers looking to orient themselves to the literary Great Plains would do well to start with Pratt’s timely and engaging volume.”—Daniel Simon, editor of Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology 1867–2017  

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Under Spacious Skies
2. Fencing In the First People
3. Taking the Land in Rölvaag’s Immigrant Saga
4. Cather and the End of the “West”
5. Dissent and the Great Depression
6. City Living on the Edge
7. The Circle toward Home
Appendix: Great Plains Literary Sites to Visit
Further Reading

Also of Interest