Steele, Linda

Image and Influence of the Oklahoma Prairie in Washington Irving’s Tour of the West
2004 0-7734-6459-X
This work is a textual study of Washington Irving’s book: A Tour on the Prairies which he wrote as a record of his trip in 1832 through what is now Oklahoma. He traveled with Henry Ellsworth, the first commissioner of Indian Affairs appointed by President Andrew Jackson, a travel writer, and a young Swiss count. Their excursion though the unsettled, pristine landscape is recorded in Irving’s book; however the book becomes a testament to the impact of environment on the language of the writer. This book is close examination of how the geography of Oklahoma informs Irving’s rhetoric, how it shapes his image of the West, and how it transfers his preconceived western mythology into a pure image of the Oklahoma prairie.