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ERIC Number: EJ906307
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0275-7664
Narrative Mappings of the Land as Space and Place in Willa Cather's "O Pioneers!"
Ramirez, Karen E.
Great Plains Quarterly, v30 n2 p97-115 Spr 2010
At the conclusion of Willa Cather's 1913 novel "O Pioneers!", Alexandra Bergson muses about landownership, and more broadly about the human-land relationship, by reflecting on the transience of the county plat map, one of the most popular forms of mapping rural America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These maps were not only housed at the county clerk's office; by the 1880s and 1890s, while Cather was living in Nebraska, commercialized survey maps periodically were collected and published in large, colorful county atlases, also called plat books, becoming among the most widely circulated maps of rural areas throughout the Midwest and Plains states. This utilitarian form of mapping reflects a nationalistic spatial understanding of western geography as empty space, and it is one form of mapping that Cather draws on and responds to in "O Pioneers!"--a novel centrally concerned with how to map out the land, or as Alexandra says, how to "understand it".
Center for Great Plains Studies. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1155 Q Street, Hewit Place, P.O. Box 880214, Lincoln, NE 68588-0214. Tel: 402-472-3082; Fax: 402-472-0463; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Nebraska