Mari Sandoz came out of the Sandhills of Nebraska to write at least three enduring books: Old Jules, Cheyenne Autumn, and Crazy Horse, the Strange Man of the Oglalas. She was a tireless researcher, a true storyteller, an artist passionately dedicated to a place little known and a people largely misunderstood. Blasted by some critics, revered by others for her vivid detail and depth of feeling, Sandoz has achieved a secure place in American literature. Her letters, edited by Helen Winter Stauffer, reveal extraordinary courage and zest for life. Included here are letters written by Sandoz over nearly forty years-from 1928, the year of her father's death and a critical one for her creative development, to 1966, the year of her own death. They allow memorable flimpses of the professional and private person: her struggles to learn her craft in spite of an unsupportive family and hard-won formal education, her experiences in gathering material, her relationships with editors and publishers, her work with fledgling writers, and her commitment to art and to various social concerns.
Helen Winter Stauffer writes that Sandoz's letters "let us share in her historical discoveries and her means of creating literature from historical facts." A professor emerita of English at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Stauffer is the author of Mari Sandoz, Story Catcher of the Plains (1982), also published by the University of Nebraska Press.
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