By Washington Irving
In 1832, Washington Irving, lately back from seventeen years’ place of abode overseas and wanting to discover his personal kingdom, launched into an day trip to the rustic west of Arkansas put aside for the Indians. A journey at the Prairies is his soaking up account of that trip, which prolonged from castle Gibson to the move Timbers in what's now Oklahoma. First released in 1835, it has remained a perennial favourite, protecting its unique freshness, energy, and vividness to this present day.
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Additional resources for A Tour on the Prairies (Western Frontier Library)
My friend Frederic E. Voelker was kind enough to lend me his first American edition of the Tour. Mrs. R. M. Kendrick (my mother-in-law) helped in the cross reading of texts. Others who provided very special help include the late Grant Foreman, of Muskogee, Oklahoma; John C. Ewers, of the Smithsonian Institution; and the staff of the New York Public Library. First and last, of course, now and always, comes Mary Stephanie McDermott, my wife, my typist, and my critic. JOHN FRANCIS MCDERMOTT ST. LOUIS Page xxi Introductory Essay By John Francis McDermott I A Tour on the Prairies is first of all a voyage of personal discovery.
Then the party turned east and arrived back at Fort Gibson on November 9. 1 There were many dis- 1 Washington Irving, The Western Journals (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1944), p. 10. Page xvi tractions, however; and it was not until November, 1834, that he finally finished it. In March, 1835, A Tour on the Prairies was published in London, and the following month Carey, Lee, and Blanchard brought out the American edition. A Tour on the PrairiesIrving's first published work since his return to the United Statesis in many ways a watershed in his writing career.
Page xix Editor's Preface The last piece of work I completed before entering the service in 1942 was an edition of The Western Journals of Washington Irving. Rediscovering Irving's notebooks (they had been published with others more than twenty years earlier in a very small edition and had been long out of print) in the course of other work on the frontier, I thought them, even though incomplete, among the most valuable and fascinating firsthand accounts of the early West. I think so still. But in my enthusiasm for these journals as documents, I spoke disparagingly of A Tour on the Prairies, and, I now believe, without full understanding of the author's purpose and point of view or the value of the book as an art record.