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A Sweet, Separate Intimacy: Women Writers of the American Frontier, 1800-1922 Paperback – Apr 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 447 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Utah Pr (T) (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874806380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874806380
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Product Description

From Library Journal

The 34 writers included in this impressive anthology originally published their fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and occasional writings during the settlement years of the American frontier. All of the women were professional authors at a time when women generally had difficulty finding publishers. Their abilities reinforced their physical isolation yet offered them outlets not available to most women and men. Miller, who lives in Arizona and has degrees in history, anthropology, and geology, has done a particularly fine job of finding voices that aren't often represented in frontier literatureDwomen of Native American, Hispanic, Chinese, and Anglo ethnicity are included. Each selection is preceded by a brief biographical and historical reference establishing context. Miller's admiration and respect for each author is evident. Recommended for women's studies, American studies, and frontier literature collections in academic and public libraries.DPam Kingsbury, Florence, AL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"This book deserves a place alongside other compilations of women's experience of the early days out West." --Cindy Bellinger, Enchantment Sept. 2008 "This useful and accessible collection has great appeal for general readers with an interest in western, nineteenth-century, or women's history. Moreover, college and high school instructors will find it a welcome source and textbook." --Jennifer L. Jenkins, Journal of Arizona History j "Not simply paeans to the West, the selections examine substantive social, political, and racial themes and explore issues of identity, marriage, and autonomy." --J. K. Weinstein, Choice "The frontier and American women are intertwined in the collected pieces through the issues of race, the clash of indigenous and invading or intermingling cultures. The feminine voice is heard throughout--voices rich in detail and less impaired by territorial imperative." --David B. Broad, Journal of the West "... A testament to the adage 'you can't keep a good book down.'" -- The Journal of Arizona History, Vol. 49, No. 3, Autumn 2008 "The editor posses a sure grasp of the sorts of topics and themes that are likely to interest contemporary readers with a literary bent...A lot of the frontier women's fiction reprinted in Miller's compendium is fetching and not easy to find... Nor will the reader want to overlook Sharlot Mabridth Halls' (d. 1913) "The Fruit of the Yucca Tree" (1905), a thematic amalgam of Bret Harte's early Western scenes and Jack London's droll forebodings. Enchanting stories like these not only indicate the richness of Miller's selections, but offer readers plenty of food for thought about the imaginative life of their frontier authors."-- Chiron Review, No. 85, Winter 2008 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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MY TIES TO THE women in this volume run deep. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By A Customer on July 14 2002
Format: Hardcover
Susan Cummins Miller, a very gifted editor and writer, has scored a hit with this one! It should be read by every woman, young and old, desiring a woman's insight of the events of the West during its formative years. The book gives the reader a woman's perspective as to the hardships suffered along with moments of humor and the joys of discovery and exploration through essays, travelogues, poetry and letters. The editor has blended well a group of women writers who lived this age of discovery and settlement. Almost all the cultures in the West during the period are presented with their particular view of the events as they lived them. It is a unique collection and I wish I had read this book in college. It certainly would have broadened my horizons and complimented the materials presented in my history and literature classes. Hey, professors! You need to add this book to your must read lists. And, to the author, many thanks for finding a unique niche that had been missed and filling it with a great group of women writers, broadening our historical and literary minds and giving us one great book that can be enjoyed many times over. It will hold a sacred place on my bookshelf.
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By A Customer on April 14 2000
Format: Paperback
For the first time I really understand the role played by WOMEN in settling the West. This collection of writings by women of all cultures took me to that time and let me feel the joy, loneliness, laughter, exhaustion and fulfillment of settling a new country. It also let me see the life of the American Indian through the eyes of women for the first time. Excellent read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Must Read For All Women & Historians July 14 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Susan Cummins Miller, a very gifted editor and writer, has scored a hit with this one! It should be read by every woman, young and old, desiring a woman's insight of the events of the West during its formative years. The book gives the reader a woman's perspective as to the hardships suffered along with moments of humor and the joys of discovery and exploration through essays, travelogues, poetry and letters. The editor has blended well a group of women writers who lived this age of discovery and settlement. Almost all the cultures in the West during the period are presented with their particular view of the events as they lived them. It is a unique collection and I wish I had read this book in college. It certainly would have broadened my horizons and complimented the materials presented in my history and literature classes. Hey, professors! You need to add this book to your must read lists. And, to the author, many thanks for finding a unique niche that had been missed and filling it with a great group of women writers, broadening our historical and literary minds and giving us one great book that can be enjoyed many times over. It will hold a sacred place on my bookshelf.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Oprah should read THIS one April 14 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the first time I really understand the role played by WOMEN in settling the West. This collection of writings by women of all cultures took me to that time and let me feel the joy, loneliness, laughter, exhaustion and fulfillment of settling a new country. It also let me see the life of the American Indian through the eyes of women for the first time. Excellent read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful! July 20 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
From the moment I heard about the premise of this book I waited with anticipation. What joy that it fulfilled everything I expected. Susan is a gifted writer and brings these women's words to life. The book made me desperate for more, both in depth and scope. As easy to take as a novel, it is a history lesson - should I say HERstory - and then some. Superb work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Remarkable Collection Nov. 3 2008
By Story Circle Book Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
With this outstanding collection, editor Susan Cummins Miller has given us a remarkable gift: the works of thirty-four women writers who lived from the early days of the American frontier until midway through the twentieth century. Published in 2000 and commendably reissued by Texas Tech University Press in its full, original length, A Sweet, Separate Intimacy makes a vitally important contribution to our understanding and appreciation of the lives and work of women writers who would otherwise continue in the obscurity into which many of them have fallen.

With the exception of a few such notable writers as Willa Cather, Mary Austin, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the women represented here have not been read since their original publication. The search that turned them up was a "treasure hunt," Miller says, as she followed trails of footnotes and buried references to bring us reports from the wild places of the frontier, written by women who traveled the difficult roads sometimes alone, sometimes in company, but always in partnership with their pens. They wrote letters home, or wrote essays for publication, or wrote after the fact, but they wrote. And wrote, and--luckily for us--kept on writing.

Four of the writers in the anthology are Native Americans. More than half wrote before the years of the Civil War. One, Elizabeth Custer, wrote to immortalize her husband; another, Frances Gage, immortalized Sojourner Truth. The intrepid Isabella Bird wrote with her heart in her mouth about her climb up Long's Peak (what in the world was she wearing?). Caroline Kirkland wrote with her tongue in her cheek about the enormous lot of gear that was packed into the wagon that carried her and her family into the wilderness, "which we then, in our greenness, considered indispensable. We have since learned better."

All of these women writers had an appreciative eye for domestic detail. We read about adobe houses in Los Angeles (Helen Jackson) and the tents and earthen lodges of the Western tribes (Alice Fletcher), about food and gardens and husbands and children and births and illness and deaths, about women's hopes and dreams and disillusionments. Men don't record these homely details in their stories--they can't. Women do, at least, these women have, and it's a good thing, too, for how else can we know about the lives of real people as they heroically settled down to carving homes and schools and towns out of a wild land? I must personally confess to a happy moment of recognition when I turned a page and found a long poem by Rose Hartwick Thorpe, "Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight," which I memorized as a girl for my own personal pleasure, because I loved the poem's story and its strong, ringing lines.

Miller has also given us brief but valuable biographical essays about each writer, placing her in the context of her time and giving us a sense of the shape of her literary work. These, together with sources, a full bibliography, and the rich treasures of the writings themselves, make for an extraordinarily powerful and unique volume. Many, many thanks to Susan Cummins Miller for an remarkable anthology that belongs in every collection of women's and Western literature.

by Susan Wittig Albert
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
A Sweet, Separate Intimacy Sept. 18 2011
By Cindy Bellinger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This fine anthology assembles fiction, non-fiction and poetry from women of the early West. The 34 writers showcase a broad range of interests, weaving in political, social and racial themes. We learn how women raised in the high-brow East came to love the rugged desert despite bouts of isolation and sheer fear of the wilderness. Many took to riding horses which opened their heart to the land. Miller writes that searching for the entries was a "treasure hunt" and as she followed obscure leads, scouring letters, diaries, published novels, essays and poetry. Her introduction to each author helps place them in a time and place.

Some of the writing is `old fashioned' with flowery descriptions and archaic syntax. Other selections are clean with a vibrancy that brings the telling into the present and makes for a delightful read. All of the women were well known to their contemporaries; their reports from the West were "a way of distilling on paper the stranger-in-a-strange-land experience...." Some of the women wrote to supplement their family's income. This book deserves a place alongside other compilations of women's experience of the early days out West.


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