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Mary Austin (Mary Hunter Austin) Biography

(1868–1934), (Mary Hunter Austin), The Land of Little Rain, The Flock, Isidro, The Basket Woman

American novelist, born in Carlinville, Illinois, educated at Blackborn College. In 1888 she moved to California to live on the fringes of the Mojave Desert, where she remained for over twenty years. The Land of Little Rain (1903) and The Flock (1906) vividly celebrate the region's landscape and indigenous culture, which pervade the historical novel Isidro (1905) and the short stories of The Basket Woman (1904) and Lost Borders (1909). From 1910 to 1923 she moved between Carmel, California, and New York; her political involvements of the period are reflected in the novel No. 26 Jayne Street (1920). She subsequently lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, producing studies of Native American culture in the Southwestern deserts which include The American Rhythm (1923), a treatise on Native American poetry, and Children Sing in the Far West (1928), an anthology of songs and children's rhymes; The Arrow Maker (1911), her principal play, concerns a female Native American shaman. Her other novels include Santa Lucia (1908), A Woman of Genius (1912), and The Ford (1917). The mystical sensibility that becomes predominant in later works unites memorably with her love of the desert landscape in Starry Adventure (1931), her last novel. Among her numerous other publications are The Green Bough (1914) and Small Town Man (1925), novels propounding radical views of Christ, and her highly regarded autobiography Earth Horizon (1932). I-Mary (1983) is a biography by Augusta Fink.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Areley Kings (or arley regis) Worcestershire to George Pierce Baker Biography