Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Two Twentieth Century Adventurous Romantic Novels...Part 1

"The Virginian - A Horseman of the Plains" (1902)by the handsome writer and lawyer, Owen Wister of Philadelphia, is an American classic. This is an example of the type of fiction that ought to be taught to school kids. The story is told by a narrator; perhaps someone like Wister, a lawyer visiting a client who owns a big ranch in the West. On this visit, the narrator meets and learns the story of the horseman we know only as The Virginian. This solitary, rather mysterious figure embodies "good" in the Wild American West, though he has experienced a hard life as a young runaway from Virginia in the days just after the Civil War. He loves the district's new young school teacher, a runaway from the possibility of a hum-drum marriage in the settled East, and he oh-so-patiently woos her. All we have ever experienced at the movies, fiction or tv about the cowboy or the West was told in this slim little novel. The writing is pristine; the imagery lucid; for those who are far too young to envision a world without electronics or instant communication, this novel takes you there, but nicely, to show a picture of life where the train and the telegraph were the most amazing new marvels! Owen Wister wrote many books, fiction and non-fiction; he was also a great friend of Theodore Roosevelt, another famous writer of the day. Page for page, this was probably the best book I read in 2014.

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