Charles M. Russell: The Storyteller's Art

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Well known for his sketches, paintings, and sculptures of the Old West, Charles M. Russell (1864-1926) was also an accomplished author in the humorous genre known as "local color." Raphael Cristy sorts Russell's writings into four general categories: serious Indian stories, men encountering wildlife, cattle range characters, and nineteenth-century westerners facing twentieth-century challenges.

Russell's art is often misinterpreted as mere longing for a fading open-range west, ...

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Albuquerque 2004 Hardcover Firsxt Edition/first printing New in new jacket ISBN: 0826332846. [4to] xx.347p. ill. (b/w_photos and drawings) notes. biblio. index. New in dj ... protected against wear and tear in Brodart Archival Mylar. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Well known for his sketches, paintings, and sculptures of the Old West, Charles M. Russell (1864-1926) was also an accomplished author in the humorous genre known as "local color." Raphael Cristy sorts Russell's writings into four general categories: serious Indian stories, men encountering wildlife, cattle range characters, and nineteenth-century westerners facing twentieth-century challenges.

Russell's art is often misinterpreted as mere longing for a fading open-range west, but his writings tell a different story. Cristy shows how Russell amused his peers with stories that also delivered sharp observations of Euro-American suppression of Indians and humorous treatment of wilderness and range issues plus the emergence of women and urbanization as bewildering agents of change in the modern West.

"A welcome departure from the usual biographies and coffee table volumes on Russell and his art. . . . [Cristy] deals with an important, yet relatively unexplored, aspect of the career of one of the most influential interpreters of the American West."—Byron Price, Director, C. M. Russell Center for the Study of Art

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Editorial Reviews

Books Plus
Readers, scholars and fans will find much to admire in Cristy's finely written book beautifully produced by the University of New Mexico Press.
CHOICE Magazine
Insightful and pleasurable, this is a book suited for the library and the coffee table. . . Highly recommended.
Cowboy Chronicles: News for the Single Action Shooting Society
. . . well-researched. . Raphael Cristy uses his skills as a historian to explore the depth of dozens of amusing tales that were first told aloud and then written down by Charlie Russell.
Crosstimbers
[Cristy] has written a useful addition to understanding American literature and perhaps, more importantly, American life.
Great Falls Tribune
While [Russell] gained lasting fame for his skill as an artist, Russell gained lasting friends with his skill as a storyteller. One of these friends, humorist and movie star Will Rogers, said Russell "was the best storyteller I ever heard." The book is lavishly illustrated with Russell's work.
Great Plains Quarterly
Charles M. Russell: The Storyteller's Art, by shedding light on Russell's ability to create narrative writing, has the added advantage of contributing critical insight into his paintings as well.
Gunweek
If you enjoy the paintings, sketches, and stories of Charles M. Russell, this 386-page hardbound volume is one you've been waiting for. . . . [Cristy's] done an excellent job, and the Russell illustrations provide the icing for the already delicious cake.
Journal of the West
This consideration of Russell as first and foremost a storyteller further establishes him as an important middleman between the different worlds of Native Americans and whites of the northern plains, myth and history, modernity, and tradition.
Montana Magazine
Cristy's study offers a thoroughly researched look at the influences on and by Russell as well as an analysis of his writings that would satisfy the requirementss of any serious curriculum. Instead of a dry, factual catalog, Cristy offers the reader a wonderfully engaging volume that enlightens and entertains.
Montanan
Cristy shows how Russell amused his peers with stories that delivered sharp observations of Euro-American suppression of Indians and humorous treatment of wilderness and range issues.
Roundup Magazine
This book sheds an entirely new light on Russell as a writer and as one who had total understanding and appreciation for what the West once was and, in the wake of progress, what it was rapidly becoming. It is a beautifully crafted book, complete with black and white and color illustrations, notes, bibliography, and index.
Salt Lake Tribune
Cristy gives Russell fans and critics a new perspective on the artist.
Santa Fe New Mexican
[Charles M. Russell] gives us a much fuller idea of Russell the artist and Russell the human being.
Southwest Bookviews
Raphael Cristy and Charlie Russell remind us that a sense of humor and fondness for the past let us live more humanely through the art of the tale.
Stanford Magazine
Cristy focuses on Russell's witty writings on the West as it really was.
Western Historical Quarterly
[This] book is very useful for scholars interested in southwestern frontier culture and can help provide a broad perspective of the unexplored dimensions of Russell's perspective on Indians and his intellectual life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826332844
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Pages: 367
  • Product dimensions: 7.04 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 1.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Raphael James Cristy of Albuquerque received his bachelor's degree in English literature at Stanford, a master's degree in American history at the University of Montana, and a doctorate in American history at the University of New Mexico. He has performed "Charlie Russell's Yarns" since 1976 in a variety of venues: the Northern Appalachian Storytelling Festival in Pennsylvania, the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, the Palm Springs Desert Arts Museum, Michael Martin Murphy's WESTFEST, the Fringe Festival in Edmonton, Alberta, and Australia's Festival of Sydney.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Ch. 1 Telling stories 7
Ch. 2 Stories into print 35
Ch. 3 Stories about northern plains Indians 55
Ch. 4 Survival and humor in wildlife stories 97
Ch. 5 Cattle range transitions 131
Ch. 6 Modern times in the twentieth-century West 173
Ch. 7 Building the book 215
Ch. 8 A niche in American literary history 231
Ch. 9 Critical observers 257
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