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The Virginian

Owen Wister

Book Overview: 

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 lynchings as frontier justice, meted out by the protagonist, who is a member of a natural aristocracy among men.
(Summary from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Creek were few as yet, and the homes scattered; the schoolhouse was only a sprig on the vast face of a world of elk and bear and uncertain Indians; but that night, when the earth near the fire was littered with the cow-punchers' beds, the Virginian was heard drawling to himself: "Alfred and Christopher. Oh, sugar!"

They found pleasure in the delicately chosen shade of this oath. He also recited to them a new verse about how he took his Looloo girl to the schoolhouse for to learn her A B C; and as it was quite original and unprintable, the camp laughed and swore joyfully, and rolled in its blankets to sleep under the stars.

Upon a Monday noon likewise (for things will happen so) some tearful people in petticoats waved handkerchiefs at a train that was just leaving Bennington, Vermont. A girl's face smiled back at them once, and withdrew quickly, for they must not see the smile die away.

She had with her a little money, a few clothes, and in. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This novel , The Virginian, the first real western book published, in 1902, began the genre , as a popular art form in America, the wild cowboy and the schoolmarm, cattle rustling, the lynchings, Indian attacks, an explosive card game, the deadly shoot out between the good guy, and the villain in...more

I cannot believe that I sat in American Lit reading Hawthorne when I could have been reading this. If you have never heard of this book, then I am not sure why; just as I am not sure why I had never heard of it. It is surely Romantic, and sometimes Heroic, but there is a depth of emotion, wit, an...more

It's a shame to have a book on my favorites shelf and never get around to reviewing it. This book is credited with being the first true Western written... The tale of the Virginian and how he made good in the West. He was from Virginia, hence the nickname (in a land where men were often known mor...more

I don't often read westerns, but this is a classic. The virginian is your typical cowboy in the white stetson, he's even nice to his horse.
There's the usual characters, the baddie, the innocent dupe and the tenderfoot who is also the narrator.
Plus it adds another state to the trip around the USA....more

This surprised me with how awesome it was, and the whole reason I picked it up in the first place is because Nancy had to explain to me a weird Owen Wister reference in The Art of Fielding.

The first piece of news is that this does not take place in Virginia. (I NEVER SAW THE MOVIES!) It takes pla...more

The Virginian, Oh What a Man! Wow, this was so good; I could not put it down. The Virginian is the most incredible, honest, honorable, handsome (sigh) hero to come along the pike in a long long time. And what a scamp, LOL at his plot to switch the babies (clothes and all) around, so that the pare...more

ومع ذلك فإن الرذيلة لم تكن مكتوبة علي تلك الوجوه الوحشية ، التي ترتسم فيها الرجولة ، ولقد تلمح شيئاً من الضعة أحياناً ، ولكنها كانت شيئاً نادراً ، بل المرتسم علي تلك الوجوه هو الجرأة والضحك والجلد ، كان هذا اليوم الذي بدأت فيه معرفتي بهم بمثابة بدء تاريخ جديد بالنسبة لي ، كان في شخصهم وكيانهم شيئ...more

Written in 1902, The Virginian is the original western novel from which we get many of the cowboy stereotypes and famous lines that would become staples, such as "Smile when you call me that." and "I'll give you till sundown to leave town."

I enjoyed it almost as much as Zane Grey's Riders of the...more

The western genre isn't one that I'm very familiar with, having read (in my impressionable early teens) some of my uncle's Tabor Evans Longarm series paperbacks. And let me just say for the record that the only thing the main character Longarm wasn't riding was a horse....Consequently, my onl...more

I have been meaning to get to this book for years, literally. It's one of the novels I'm sure my dad read and he wasn't really a reader, at least not when I knew him.

I'm sure that some of you will like this book far better than I do. I think that it's an exceptionally well written novel. The pros...more

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