America Re-Imagined, in Retrospect: Fifty Notable American Novels about the “West”: 41-42.


Richter, Conrad.  The Sea of Grass.  New York: Knopf, 1937.

Conrad Richter is best known for his Awakening Land trilogy about the settlement of the Ohio frontier: The Trees (1940), The Fields (1946), and The Town (1950).  But Richter’s earliest stories and novels were set on the later and very different frontier of the Southwest.  A native of Pennsylvania, Richter had relocated to New Mexico when his wife’s health demanded a drier climate.  In New Mexico, he discovered that many of the residents either still remembered the frontier period or were only a generation removed from it.  He reworked the stories that he absorbed into his first collection of short fiction, Early Americana and Other Stories (1936) and his first novel, The Sea of Grass.

Establishing Richter as a major new voice in American fiction, The Sea of Grass was a finalist for the National Book Award and…

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