Libertia Society Featured Author Series: #5 Rose Wilder Lane

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March 31, 2015 by Racheltd

Rose Wilder Lane  (1886-1968)

Who was she?

A quintessentially American novelist, political theorist, and journalist, Lane’s most lasting legacy is perhaps her collaboration with her mother Laura Ingalls Wilder on the “Little House” books. However, during her life-time she was much more than that. An outspoken advocate of the ideas of liberty, Lane in addition to Isabel Paterson and Ayn Rand, is widely considered one of the most important women writers and thinkers at the founding of modern libertarianism. Her main political work, The Discovery of Freedom, is a historical and theoretical look at the discovery and evolution of the idea of individual freedom.

For a brief, online biography head here:
http://www.legacy.com/ns/FullStory.aspx?StoryType=1&StoryID=17

Where should I start?

Credo“: Later re-titled “Give Me Liberty”, this autobiographical statement of Lane’s move away from Communism toward a philosophy of liberty is a brief read and a good gateway to her other works.

The Discovery of Freedom: Man’s Struggle Against Authority: An ambitious but somewhat flawed project, this work contains many interesting insights and speculations and is perhaps of particular interest to those curious about the history of thought underlying modern libertarianism.

Young Pioneers: A solo novel of Lane’s, this work was one her best sellers in her lifetime and a good place to begin for lovers of the frontier literature genera and Little House fans. The title, originally “Let the Hurricane Roar”, and some character names were changed later.

The Rediscovered Writings of Rose Wilder Lane: Literary JournalistFor those interested in Lane’s journalistic legacy, this recent publication edited by Amy Mattson Lauters offers a broad sample of writings.

The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane. This carefully researched biography by William Holtz is highly read-able and richly detailed.

What are some awesome quotes by her?

Plants and animals repeat routine, but men who are not restrained will go into the future like explorers into a new country. -“Credo” (1936)

 

In that instant she knew the infinite smallness, weakness of life in the universe. She felt the vast, insensate forces against which life itself is a rebellion. Infinitely small and weak was the spark of warmth in a living heart. Yet valiantly, the tiny heart continued to beat. Tired, weak, burdened by its own fears and sorrows, still it persisted, indomitably it continued to exist, and in bear existence itself, without assurance of victory, even without hope, in its indomitable existence among vast, incalculable, lifeless forces, it was invincible.   –Let the Hurricane Roar (1933)

 

I am a contributing creator of American civilization; it does not create me. I control the stem of this civilization that is within my reach; it does not control me. It can not even make me read Spengler, if I’d rather read a pulp magazine. –The Discovery of Freedom (1943)

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