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Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life (South Dakota Biography Series Book 1)

by (South Dakota State Historical Society Press)

(13 reviews)


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2008 WILLA Literary Award Winner in the Scholarly Nonfiction Category -- Women Writing the West

Indie Excellence Awards 2008 Winner in the Biography Category

This is "a fascinating and remarkable book that deserves a place on the shelf of every Laura fan." -- The Homesteader

"Pamela Smith Hill has [created] a work of considerable scholarship and insight... She has dealt along the way with numerous issues raised by critics and by the general readership, together with other matters that few have previously thought to discuss. In all of this, her extensive research, her careful scholarship and her measured style, combined with her obvious enthusiasm for her subject, have produced a work which we believe adds in substantial measure to the critical literature involving Wilder and Lane." -- The Little House Heritage Trust

In Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life, Pamela Smith Hill delves into the complex and often fascinating relationships Wilder formed throughout her life that led to the writing of her classic Little House series. Using Wilder's stories, personal correspondence, an unpublished autobiography, and experiences in South Dakota, Hill has produced a historical-literary biography of the famous and much-loved author. Following the course of Wilder's life, and her real family's journey west, Hill provides a context, both familial and literary, for Wilder's writing career.

Laura Ingalls Wilder examines Wilder's inspirations as a writer, particularly her tumultuous, but ultimately successful, professional and personal relationship with her daughter -- the hidden editor -- Rose Wilder Lane. Wilder produced her timeless classics with the help of, but not reliance upon, her daughter's editorial insights. Over the course of more than thirty years, Lane and Wilder engaged in a dynamic working relationship, shifting between trust, distrust, and respect. Hill argues that they differed in their visions of the path Wilder's career should follow, but eventually Lane's editing brought out the best of her mother's writing, and allowed her creativity, expression, and experiences to shine through.

This book is the first in a new series of biographies highlighting South Dakota's most famous residents. Future volumes in the South Dakota Biography Series will focus on the lives of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, and Seth Bullock.

"This will most likely be the definitive published source for 'Pioneer Girl.'" -- The Homesteader

"In some ways, Laura fans have been waiting for the second half of this book since the 1994 publication of William Holtz's Ghost in the Little House." -- The Homesteader

"If you've ever wanted to peek behind the scenes of the "Little House" series and other vignettes, this is your book... This biography is sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but always a page turner." -- Roundup Magazine

"Hill skillfully examines the complex relationship between Wilder and her daughter." -- Kansas History

Hill offers "fresh insights on open questions in Wilder and Little House studies, and are engaging, enjoyable reading." -- Kansas History

"Hill's dissecton of the personal and professional interactions between these two women, as mother and daughter and as collaborating (and rival) artists, is performed with delicacy and tact that, nevertheless, confirms Laura Ingalls Wilder's place in the canon of American writers." -- Nebraska History

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Additional Info

  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • Print Length: 254 Pages
  • File Size: 2,083 KB

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