The website for The Pioneer Girl Project posted a major update today announcing the forthcoming publication, in May 2017 and by South Dakota Historical Society Press, of an exciting new collection of essays entitled Pioneer Girl Perspectives: Exploring Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Nancy Tystad Koupal.
As someone who has followed Ingalls Wilder Lane scholarship for well over a decade (and who has made a few modest contributions to the discussion so far), I am thrilled to see these authors take such bold, new approaches to Wilder’s work, especially in light of the recent publication of Wilder’s original first-person memoir.
Pioneer Girl Perspectives: Exploring Laura Ingalls Wilder takes a serious look at Wilder’s working life and at circumstances that developed her points of view. Along the way, authors William T. Anderson, Caroline Fraser, Michael Patrick Hearn, Elizabeth Jameson, Sallie Ketcham, Amy Mattson Lauters, John E. Miller, Paula M. Nelson, and Ann Romines explore the relationship between Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, as well as their path to the Little House novels. Editor Nancy Tystad Koupal also includes an interview with Little House Heritage Trust representative Noel Silverman, who has worked with Wilder’s works for over forty-five years, and annotates Wilder’s 1937 speech about the Little House series given at the Detroit book fair.
This rich source book from these Wilder scholars from across North America will also explore, among other topics, the interplay of folklore in the Little House novels, women’s place on the American frontier, Rose Wilder Lane’s writing career, the strange episode of the Benders in Kansas, Wilder’s midwestern identity, and society’s ideas of childhood.