Adventures with a Texas Humanist by James Lee, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Adventures with a Texas Humanist

Adventures with a Texas Humanist

by James Lee
     
 

For the first half of the twentieth century, Texas literature, culture, and folklore were dominated by J. Frank Dobie, the man Lon Tinkle called “Mr. Texas.” Dobie’s Texas was a land of exuberance and romance, a time when Texas was proud of itself and not loath to let the world know it.

But the culture of the state changed in the 1960s, and the

Overview


For the first half of the twentieth century, Texas literature, culture, and folklore were dominated by J. Frank Dobie, the man Lon Tinkle called “Mr. Texas.” Dobie’s Texas was a land of exuberance and romance, a time when Texas was proud of itself and not loath to let the world know it.

But the culture of the state changed in the 1960s, and the figure who replaced Dobie as the dominant Texas writer and literary icon was Larry McMurtry. The Texas of Larry McMurtry is a far different landscape. The old certainties were replaced by irony and cultural revolution. The high, wide, and handsome posture of Texans was muted by politics, student unrest, and war. In the first two essays in this volume—“The Age of Dobie” and “The Age of McMurtry”—James Ward Lee places the writers, the politicians, and the cultural leaders in the context of each age.

Subsequent chapters discuss writers and trends in Texas literature. Lee discusses long-standing arguments about Texas literature and surveys bodies of work that have had an impact on it.

Another part of the book looks at Texas folklore and culture. “The Uses of Folklore,” “The Folkways of the Arklatex,” “Texas: Land of Legends and Myths,” and “The Texas Sidekick” all study the way Texans live and work and see the world.

The final section of the book is made up of some personal essays by a man whose ideas and attitudes are sometimes odd but always humorous. Lee writes of the life he has led in Texas as a college professor and takes a backward look at his life from boyhood to service in the U.S. Navy.

Editorial Reviews

Review of Texas Books
" . . . gives the reader the sense of having had a wide-ranging conversation with a genial, erudite Texas raconteur."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780875652887
Publisher:
Texas Christian University Press
Publication date:
07/28/2004
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

From the Book: "Most of my adventures were without design—at least at the start. As time passed, I became absorbed in the study of Texas literature, and some of the essays here are attempts to make sense of what I read and talked with others about. The original plan of this book was to dust off some old essays and put them in one volume, a common desire of college professors and newspaper columnists. Such compilations seldom work and should not be encouraged. But most of us who have written a number of essays on this and that hope someone will suggest that we gather them up for book publication. That is what happened here. TCU Press suggested that I dig around in my files and find gems of beauty and wisdom. It didn't work out. I dug around and found very little of either beauty or wisdom. What I found was "a rhapsody," a 'literary work consisting of miscellaneous or disconnected pieces'—I just learned this definition of "rhapsody" from my new [Oxford English Dictionary] too.

My rhapsody, my miscellany, was not really ready for prime time. I knew that if I wanted to produce a book, I needed to make more sense out of my adventures. That realization wrecked the original plan of dusting off the old essays. I set about writing two new chapters to help me organize my thoughts and prejudices. The first two chapters, 'The Age of Dobie' and 'The Age of McMurtry,' are the fruits of my frustration. I decided that in order to understand all I wanted to understand about Texas life and literature, I needed to make some order—in my own mind at least—of the changes and trends that have taken place in this state over almost a century. . . .'

Meet the Author


James Ward Lee is an emeritus professor and former chair of English at the University of North Texas. He is a past president of the Texas Folklore Society and author of many articles, books, and reviews. The humorous essays of Texas, My Texas have made him a popular speaker and writer. His Classics of Texas Fiction discusses many of the best novels written by Texas writers. His latest book is Literary Fort Worth, co-edited with Judy Alter. He lives in Fort Worth.

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