The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life

The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life

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The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life

The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Francis Parkman's The Oregon Trail has long been accepted as a classic account of western adventure. It has been read primarily as a narrative of a summer's romantic rambles "out of bounds"; for half a century it has remained the perennial favorite of high-school reading lists. Yet the book has escaped much searching critical analysis, perhaps because it seems so deceptively clear, so free from the intellectual and emotional tensions of Parkman's great histories.

The present text of The Oregon Trail is the first edition to demonstrate in detail how carefully Parkman prepared himself for his journey to the Far West and how fully his experience of the wilderness justified his suffering along the Oregon and Santa Fe trails. It is the first to identify positively many of the persons he met in the West in 1846, and the first to place Parkman's narrative of western life and adventure in its appropriate literary context. Finally, this edition rests upon a complete collation of the various "editions" of The Oregon Trail published during Parkman's lifetime, from its serialization in the Knickerbocker Magazine in 1847-1849, through its first book publication in 1849, and through all the subsequent "editions" until Parkman established his final text in the "Illustrated Edition" of 1892, the text for this facsimile edition. Of major interest in this connection is his consistent and careful editing of the text of The Oregon Trail through four distinct versions, a fact which puts to rest the legend of authorial carelessness and indifference.

This edition also demonstrates, quite contrary to accepted . . .

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