16.46 Owen Wister The Virginian

ISBN 13: 9780140390650

The Virginian

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9780140390650: The Virginian

The epic novel of the American West and the heroic cowboy

Owen Wister's powerful story of the tall, silent stranger who rides into the uncivilized West and defeats the forces of evil has become an enduring part of American mythology. Set in Wyoming Territory, The Virginian depicts the loneliness and challenge of an unknown land where the whistle of a freight train sounds across great miles of silence, where easy camaraderie—and sudden violence—are found around the campfire, and where the rough honesty of "frontier justice" is just beginning to impose a sense of society on an unruly populace. For Wister, the West represented a territory of adventure that tested the worth of a man. His hero, as John Seelye writes in his Introduction, has his roots in the historical romances of Sir Walter Scott and James Fenimore Cooper; he is a man who lives by the classic code of chivalry, ruled by quiet courage and deeply felt honor.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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From the Back Cover:

This is the classic novel of the American West, which served as a model for thousands of later novels and films.

It is a story of ranch life and cowboy living at the turn of the century. The hero of the novel, the "Virginian", the only name by which he is known, has left his native state at an early age to try his fortunes in the western country. After roughing it along the way, he settles on Judge Henry's cattle ranch in Wyoming, where the owner makes him his right-hand man. The Virginian is strikingly handsome, twetny-seven years old, and, though unversed in the ways of the world and ignorant as to book learning, he has character and personality that inspire respect from all who know him. He manages to force on a turbulent community his idea of law and order-- "getting the drop" on an enemy, vigilante committees, and lynch law.

The novel recounts his adventures, including his romantic initiation at the hands of Molly Wood, the Vermont girl who became a western school techer. And it introduces him to Trampas, the legendary villain who is the prototype of the "bad guys" of future western novels and films.

"The Virginian" has been filmed three times, most memorably with Gary Cooper, and also became a long-running television series.

About the Author:

Owen Wister (1860-1938) was born in Philadelphia and raised in Germantown, Pennsylvania. At age 25, he spent a summer in Wyoming on the advice of his physician. Encouraged by his friend from Harvard, Theodore Roosevelt, he later wrote about his experiences and observations of the American West. His greatest success came in 1902 with the publication of The Virginian, which was a bestseller for months and would be dramatized and filmed numerous times. 

John Seelye is a graduate research professor of American literature at the University of Florida. He is the author of The True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain at the MoviesProphetic Writers: The River in Early American LiteratureBeautiful Machine: Rivers and the Early RepublicMemory's Nation: The Place of Plymouth Rock, and War Games: Richard Harding Davis and the New Imperialism. He is also the consulting editor for Penguin Classics in American literature.

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