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A Horseman of the Plains. Oxford World's Classics
The Virginian (1902) is Owen Wister's classic popular romance, and the most significant shaping influence on cowboy fiction. Its narrator, fresh from the East, encounters in Wyoming cattle country a strange, seductive and often violent land where the handsome figure of the Virginian battles for supremacy with Trampas and other ne'er-do-wells. His courtship of the genteel Vermont schoolteacher, Molly Wood, is a humourously observed battle of the sexes,
demonstrating that the 'customs of the country' must eventually prevail. Rich in vernacular wit and portraying a romanticized escape from the decorum of the patrician East, The Virginian exudes a sense of redemptive possibility, drawing on Wister's experience of a summer spent on a Wyoming ranch in 1895.
This edition includes Wister's neglected essay, `The Evolution of the Cow-Puncher' (1895), a revealing companion to a novel that has disturbing undercurrents.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
An excellent edition. / Rhys Williams, Warwick University