Reading the West: New Essays on the Literature of the American West

Overview

The American West of myth and legend has always exerted a strong hold on the popular imagination, and Reading the West examines the bases of that fascination. These critical essays by writers, independent scholars, and critics on the literature of the American West showcase new ways of reading and understanding western writing. This volume helps enrich our understanding of a distinguished body of literary work that has sometimes been unjustly ignored. It deals not only with literature but also with the changing ...

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Overview

The American West of myth and legend has always exerted a strong hold on the popular imagination, and Reading the West examines the bases of that fascination. These critical essays by writers, independent scholars, and critics on the literature of the American West showcase new ways of reading and understanding western writing. This volume helps enrich our understanding of a distinguished body of literary work that has sometimes been unjustly ignored. It deals not only with literature but also with the changing conception of the West in the American imagination.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The pleasure of reading this collection is perhaps surpassed only by the erudition of its contributors....Readers who enjoy anything from the mysteries of Tony Hillerman to the stunning landscapes of Albert Bierstadt will find the revisionary critical readings of these essays exciting and thought provoking." American Literature

"The writing is readable and strong throughout. Valuable selected bibliography. Highly recommended..." L. Evers, Choice

"...a useful, much needed, and provacative collection of essays dealing with the American West." Western American Literature

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction Michael Kowalewski; Part I. Nature and Place in Western Writing: 1. Region, power, place William W. Bevis; 2. Burros and Mustangs: literary evolutionism and the wilderness west David Rains Wallace; Part II. Reimagining the American Frontier: 3.The Literature of loneliness: understanding the letters and diaries of the American West Shannon Applegate; 4. Quoting the wicked wit of the West: Frontier reportage and Western vernacular Michael Kowalewski; 5. Bierstadt's settings, Harte's plots Lee Mitchell; Part III. Modern Western Revisions: 6. Sentimentalism in the American Southwest: John C. Van Dyke, Mary Austin and Edward Abbey Peter Wild; 7. Revisionist Western classics Thomas J. Lyon; 8. Molly's truthtelling, or Jean Stafford rewrites the Western Susan J. Rosowski; 9. Borders, frontiers and mountains: mapping the history of 'US Hispanic Literature' Margaret Garcia Davidson; Part IV. Contemporary Western Writing: A Mosaic: 10. The return of the native: the politics of identity in American Indian fiction of the West Philip Burnham; 11. Regionalism makes good: the San Francisco Renaissance Linda Hamalian; 12. 'The Circle Almost Circled': some notes on California's fiction James D. Houston; 13. Fighting the religion of the present: Western motifs in the first wave of Asian American plays Misha Berson.

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