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In the Stranger People's Country tells the story of contact between a late-nineteenth-century Tennessee mountain community and an amateur archaeologist who wants to open the graves of the prehistoric leetle stranger people, a source of myth to the mountaineers. A politician looking for votes in the country has invited the archaeologist Shattuck to travel into the mountains with him, but a mountain woman, Adelaide Yates, threatens to shoot anyone who attempts to violate the graves. The courageous mountaineer Felix Guthrie joins the defense of the stranger people and competes with Shattuck for the attention of ather mountain woman, Letitia Pettingill. Author Mary Noailles Murfree (1850-1922) uses dialect and vivid descriptions of mountain scenes to introduce the reader to Appalachia and its people. She creates respectful representations of Appalachian life and explores some of the changes the arrival of outsiders brought to the mountains. Murfree's depiction of social and aesthetic issues increases our understanding of the nineteenth century and serves as a literary precursor of the twentieth-century Appalachian activist movements to preserve the environment against the strip-mining and chemical industries. This edition of Murfree's 1891 vel, reprinted for the first time, includes tes about Appalachian dialect and the vel's references to archaeology, which have some basis in actual archaeological discoveries in Tennessee.
Marjorie Pryse is a professor of English and women's studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is a coauthor of Writing Out of Place: Regionalism, Women, and American Literary Culture and the coeditor of American Women Regionalists: A Norton Anthology.
Mary Noailles Murfree
University of Nebraska Press
Date of Publication
Encyclopedias & General Reference
Legacies of Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers