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Owen Wister Audio

Owen Wister

Owen Wister (1860 – 1938) was an American writer and "father" of western fiction.  He began his literary work in 1891. Wister had spent several summers out in the American West, making his first trip to Wyoming in 1885. Like his friend Teddy Roosevelt, Wister was fascinated with the culture, lore and terrain of the region. On an 1893 visit to Yellowstone, Wister met the western artist Frederic Remington; who remained a lifelong friend. When he started writing, he naturally inclined towards fiction set on the western frontier. Wister's most famous work remains the 1902 novel The Virginian (see audio below) , the loosely constructed story of a cowboy who is a natural aristocrat, set against a highly mythologized version of the Johnson County War and taking the side of the large land owners. This is widely regarded as being the first cowboy novel and was reprinted fourteen times in eight months. The book is dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt.

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1.  The Virginian - Ostensibly a love story, the novel really revolves around a highly mythologized version of the Johnson County War in 1890’s Wyoming … The novel takes the side of the large ranchers, and depicts the lynching’s as frontier justice, meted out by the protagonist, who is a member of a natural aristocracy among men.

2. A Journey in Search of Christmas - Cowboy Lin McLean rides into frontier Cheyenne, Wyoming, at Christmastime and learns a powerful meaning of Christmas.

3.  The Dragon of Wantley - The "true" story of the Wantley Dragon. Set at Christmas time, it is a tale of a Baron, his daughter, a brave knight, True Love, and the terrible Dragon of Wantley.

4.  In a State of Sin by Owen Wister  (Go to 23rd story in Wit and Humor of America - Vol 4)

5.  Padre Ignacio or the Song of Temptation - Padre Ignacio has been the pastor of California mission Santa Ysabel del Mar for twenty years. In 1855 a stranger rides into the mission bringing news and a spiritual crisis.

6.  The Pentecost of Calamity - Nonfiction. Appalled by the savagery of World War I, Owen Wister in 1915 published an attempt to move the United States out of neutrality into joining the Allies against Germany. His aim was the quicker defeat of that nation.

7.  Philosophy 4: A Story of Harvard University - Owen Wister's wry humor enlivens this comedic story of three sophomores during exam week at Harvard.

8.  The Jimmy John Boss and Other Stories - This is the fifth published book of Owen Wister and was published in 1900, it comprises eight Western short stories. 

9.  Mother by Owen Wister  (13th story in Short Story Collection # 51)

10.  Red Men and White - These eight stories are made from our Western Frontier as it was in a past as near as yesterday and almost as by-gone as the Revolution; so swiftly do we proceed. They belong to each other in a kinship of life and manners, and a little through the nearer tie of having here and there a character in common. 

11.  The New Swiss Family Robinson - A parody of Swiss Family Robinson , this short piece was written by Owen Wister for the Harvard Lampoon. 

12.  Lin McLean  - Novel  is an unaffected, attractive young cowboy in the Wyoming territory before statehood. This book is various stories in his life.

13.  Ulysses S. Grant - This short biography of Ulysses S. Grant is only 145 pages in a little pamphlet size. The author is famous for his stories of the Old West, but he also wrote a substantial body of nonfiction literature.

14.  Members of the Family - This is a collection of eight short stories about people in the Wyoming Territory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

15.  Lady Baltimore - Augustus visits King's Port, South Carolina, at the request of his Aunt Carola, and at her expense. She wants him to research geneaologies and records to find proof that he is descended from royalty so that he can join her exclusive club, the Colonial Society. While there, he becomes involved in a love affair between John Mayrant and Eliza La Heu.