Prose Sketches and Poems
Written in the Western Country
Fiction - Poetry
6 x 9, 336 pp.
Illus., Map.
Pub Date: 03/01/1987
  cloth
Price:        $27.50 s

978-0-89096-305-0
  paper
Price:        $15.95 s

978-0-89096-323-4

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Prose Sketches and Poems

Written in the Western Country

By Albert Pike
Edited by David J. Weber

Few copies of the original 1834 edition of this volume are known to exist today. It is more than just a rare book, though; it is also a unique item of Southwestern Americana that defies classification as reminiscence, fiction, or poetry, for it is all of these.

In these literary forms Albert Pike became New Mexico's first Anglo-American short story writer and poet, and the narrative portion of his book is one of the earliest American travel accounts from the Mexican borderland.

Pike's restless nature led him to follow the Santa Fe trail at a historic period only ten years after its opening, and he made his return through an uncharted area of the Comanche country of Texas.

While not the first to explore the Taos-Santa Fe area of New Mexico, Pike gave the most detailed outsider's view of the area and its people at that time, recording his impressions in both short stories and reminiscences.

This 1967 edition of Prose Sketches and Poems contains an illuminating introduction by David J. Weber, who gives a short biography of Pike's life and explanatory footnotes. The editor also has taken from contemporary newspapers and appended here eight more of Pike's short stories, which did not appear in the original book.

David J. Weber is Robert and Nancy Dedman Professor of History at Southern Methodist University.

What Readers Are Saying:

"Today this work has special interest for its two long narratives of Pike's 'Journeys in the Prairie' describing the vanished prairie lands. . . . Missouri Tourism Division, take note! "But I'm especially impressed with Pike's poetic skills, in ballads, lyrics, odes, narratives, dirges—in blank verse, Gaelic meters, Spenserian stanzas, heroic couplets and other forms. Pike surely deserves a place in anthologies of American poetry and prose for his sharp, colorful description. As a pioneer of Southwestern literature, he has written authentically and eloquently. Rediscovering his work is like finding a lost vein of New Mexican gold."--Charles Guenther

"Today this work has special interest for its two long narratives of Pike's 'Journeys in the Prairie' describing the vanished prairie lands. . . . Missouri Tourism Division, take note! --Charles Guenther
"But I'm especially impressed with Pike's poetic skills, in ballads, lyrics, odes, narratives, dirges—in blank verse, Gaelic meters, Spenserian stanzas, heroic couplets and other forms. Pike surely deserves a place in anthologies of American poetry and prose for his sharp, colorful description. As a pioneer of Southwestern literature, he has written authentically and eloquently. Rediscovering his work is like finding a lost vein of New Mexican gold." --Charles Guenther

"Albert Pike's Prose Sketches and Poems has long been regarded as a classic of southwestern literature. . . . For this new edition Weber has added eight additional prose stories, plus a revealing letter from the author." --SOUTHWEST REVIEW

“This valuable primary source of Pike's journey to Santa Fe in 1831-32, along with poems and short stories, is again available. . . . Students of the Southwest will welcome the availability of this regional classic and appreciate Weber's introduction and editorial contributions." --WAGON TRACKS

"One of the earliest American travel accounts of the Mexican borderlands, written in the early 1830s. Contains Weber's 1967 introduction to the first reprinting." --WESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

“A unique contribution to the accounts of the northern frontier of the fledgling Mexican nation prior to 1846." --New Mexico Historical Review

“Remains one of the most important as well as one of the most rare descriptions of early New Mexico and far West Texas." --East Texas Historical Association

“An abundance of cultural and historical information which makes the book finally a valuable resource." --Journal of the Southwest

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