Traces of Gold: California's Natural Resources and the Claim to Realism in Western American Literature

Overview

"From Gold Rush romances to cowboy Westerns, from hard-boiled detective thrillers to nature writing, the American West has long been known mainly through hackneyed representations in popular genres. But a close look at the literary history of the West reveals a number of writers who claim that their works represent the "real" West." With its forays into ecocriticism and cultural studies and the welcome inclusion of Western genre writing in a serious study of American literary history, Traces of Gold will appeal to students and scholars of ...
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Traces of Gold: California's Natural Resources and the Claim to Realism in Western American Literature

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Overview

"From Gold Rush romances to cowboy Westerns, from hard-boiled detective thrillers to nature writing, the American West has long been known mainly through hackneyed representations in popular genres. But a close look at the literary history of the West reveals a number of writers who claim that their works represent the "real" West." With its forays into ecocriticism and cultural studies and the welcome inclusion of Western genre writing in a serious study of American literary history, Traces of Gold will appeal to students and scholars of American literature, American studies, and western history.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Insightful, sometimes brilliant . . . [T]he scholarship is sound, the theory informed, and the style graceful. This is a significant book for western literature, genre studies, environmental writing, and cultural studies."
—Susan J. Rosowski, author of Birthing a Nation: Gender, Creativity, and the West in American Literature
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817357412
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 2/25/2013
  • Series: Amer Lit Realism & Naturalism Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicolas S. Witschi is a professor of English at Western Michigan University. A past copresident of the Western Literature Association, author of a Western Writers Series monograph on Alonzo "Old Block" Delano (2006) and of articles and essays on Mary Austin, John Muir, Sinclair Lewis, and Henry James. Most recently, he is the editor of A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West (2011) and with Melody Graulich the co-editor of Dirty Words in "Deadwood": Literature and the Postwestern (2013).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Genres of Realism 1
1 Bret Harte and the Gold Rush Claim to Realism 15
2 John of the Mines: Muir's Picturesque Rewrite of the Gold Rush 43
3 "Why, Have You Got the Atlantic Monthly Out Here?" W. D. Howells, Realism, and the Idea of the West 66
4 1902: The Generic Imagination in Transition 85
5 "I Know What Is Best for You": Post-Howellsian Realism in Mary Austin's Desert Narratives 111
6 Hard-Boiled Nature: California, Detective Fiction, and the Limits of Representation 139
Notes 167
Works Cited 195
Index 213
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