The ways American prairie landscapes have been used and understood, since the first Euro-American encounters with them in the early 19th century, are inseparable from how they have been seen and described. The converse is no less true for pictorial depictions and verbal accounts. Far from being disassociated, the differing actions of perception and utilization are in fact interdependent, and as such have had far-reaching consequences for human interaction with the prairie landscape itself and for the subject of prairies as it is presented in literature and art. Although it is not often acknowledged, aesthetics lie at the heart of any discussion of the landform, even in policy debates over agricultural practices or proposals to restore a tract to native grasses. And just as critical, the land's use (or disuse) directly informs its representation in written or visual portrayals, whether these concern virgin territory or cultivated terrain.