By Washington Irving
In 1832, Washington Irving, lately back from seventeen years’ place of abode overseas and desirous to discover his personal state, launched into an excursion 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, maintaining its unique freshness, vigour, and vividness to this present day.
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Additional info for A Tour on the Prairies (Western Frontier Library)
It was my work, over the years since the war, in American art historyparticularly American genrethat led me to understand and value Irving as genre painter. How true that is of the Tour I show in the introduction that follows. The present edition is based on the author's edition of 1859. I have permitted myself only the slightest changes in punctuation occasionally when clarity demanded. That Irving might be allowed full expression of his personal point of view I have added the original author's introduction to the American edition of 1835.
The loneliness of a forest seems nothing to it. There the view is shut in by trees, and the imagination is left free to picture some livelier scene beyond. But here we have an immense extent of landscape without a sign of human exist- Page xxvii ence. We have the consciousness of being far, far beyond the bounds of human habitation; we feel as if moving in the midst of a desert world. . The silence of the waste . . now and then broken by the cry of a distant flock of pelicans, stalking like spectres about a shallow pool .
By degrees I was led to doubt the entire sentiment of my countrymen towards me. Perhaps I was rendered more sensitive on this head by the indulgent good will I had ever experienced from them. They had always cherished me beyond my deserts, excusing my many deficiencies, taking my humours and errors in good part, and exaggerating every merit. Their cordial kindness had in a manner become necessary to me. I was like a spoiled child, that could not bear the glance of an altered eye. I cared even less for their good opinion than their good will, and felt indignant at being elbowed into a position with respect to them, from which my soul revolted.
A Tour on the Prairies (Western Frontier Library) by Washington Irving