Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane

I have noticed a few fleeting attempts to begin to give Laura Ingalls Wilder the credit she deserves as a great American author.  Although her stories are known as children's stories, they are, more than that, classic pieces of Americana whose style matches their content in simplicity and poignancy.

The New Yorker has an interesting article on Wilder and her daughter rose, with mentions of several books about Wilder that have come out in recent years, as well as an interesting discussion about Rose's contribution to the stories (and her volatile personality). It a little of the snottiness you would expect of the magazine toward "laissez-faire capitalism" at the end, but all in all it is an enlightening article.


mcyoder said...

Thank you for the link. I don't usually like to read long articles online, but as you said it was an interesting article. (Save for the "snottiness.")

Ana said...

Pulled this post up on a search for ingalls/wilder after reading New Yorker article.
As an extreme reader of Laura Ingalls Wilder as a child growing up, I always found her last book (published after Rose Wilder Lane's book) chillingly different in tone than the others. Without dispute their seems to have been an ongoing collaboration between mother and daughter, with Laura Ingall's Puritan stoicism augmented by her daughter's heightened sense of emotional drama and sensory detail. Undoubtedly Lane led a colorful life; later, as the article points out, she defined her political views-no handouts, minimal taxation, limited govt and has been called a founding person of the libertarian movement. The article, in reality, shines a light on the psychology between Wilder and Lane and the anti-authority attitude that defined Lane's life. Luckily she had the voice she did, for she augmented her mother's work in editing at the least, into a powerhouse short series worthy of critical detail as well as a somewhat factual account of moving west late 19th century. The article ties together so many pieces on a personal and political level, I think the question the article asks in the last paragraph,"considering...present debacle of laissez-faire capitalism" may be your only single possible attribution to "snottiness." Read a little deeper into the last line, "hard times whet the appetite for survival stories" and consider that along with Wilder and Lane's personal stories and I believe you may find something of greater depth from the article.