Monday, July 13, 2015

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey (1912) Illu. Douglas Duer

What a great read. Many parts had my heart pounding. It took me a short while to get the hang of Zane's style and I think I learned a valuable lesson in "Fast - Slow" reading; when you come to the descriptions you have to dial it way back. Some of it was quite sad, the loss of what you have and had because you can't see the truth. The things that we do and say and think are part of the continuum that sets up the rest of our lives. Every step we take slowly limits and slowly creates what we are to  become.

Many criticisms could be laid upon this book but if the bottom line is "I can't put it down" then it passes well.

I had for a long time thought that I would not bother with a "pulp fiction writer" such as Grey but found a 1st Edition for $3 at an Estate sale a year ago and put it onto the "to be read pile."

The annual trip to the Lake was coming up and I had already finished my favorite writer for the summer JFC so while rummaging thru the pile it finally took my hand.

Summed up; it is two separate yet crossing love stories interwoven with Mormon hating, detailed horse riding, and the very grand and very purple scenery of the West.

Our writer was very familiar with both the outdoors and the love affairs, so he speaks from experience. But the "thing" that Writers do; describing the view be it from the eye or from the heart is what sets each of them apart. Initially I was put off by it but once you get into the rhythm it is a fun place to be; Zane can describe with the best of them.

I rarely include pics other than from my own copies but this dust cover painting is captivating.

 The copy I have is an I-N Printing so according to the ZGWS it is a Harper & Brothers, NY 1912, code letters I-N (September 1913) copy although it says 1912.

 Once again I find the most interesting illustrators may be some of the forgotten ones. Douglas Duer is great with drama in a very old but story relevant style. There are some good references on the endless web.

The section regarding the shooting of the Masked Rider includes some creative "Old-timey titillation" otherwise the modesty of the time leaves you deciding when or if they touched each other.

Some of the passages that spoke to me:

I think only a man who had ridden and talked Horses most of his life could envision this. By 1912 Henry Ford had irrevocably changed the landscape of the East but for those who longed for the outdoors I think you could leave the "Modern" world far behind.

Elements of eternal feminine... yes indeed!
In this exchange Bess is immediately jealous; by accounts Grey may have had several occasions to experience the jealous woman. Elements of eternal feminine... yes indeed!

Men were Blood Spillers!
I'm not sure that on this planet we can change this?

Another thing that had always been a question of mine: back long before cell phones a hiker had to REMEMBER the trail. For the 1st time in my readings Zane makes it clear that in fact a wanderer had to actively commit to memory a brain-photo of what it was that he/she needed to know for the return trip. This is and was a life & death matter when there was no way to click it and forget it like we can now.

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