A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West

A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West

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A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West presents a series of essays that explore the historic and contemporary cultural expressions rooted in America's western states. * Offers a comprehensive approach to the wide range of cultural expressions originating in the west * Focuses on the intersections, complexities, and challenges found within and between the different historical and cultural groups that define the west's various distinctive regions * Addresses traditionally familiar icons and ideas about the west (such as cowboys, wide-open spaces, and violence) and their intersections with urbanization and other regional complexities * Features essays written by many of the leading scholars in western American cultural studies
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Product details

  • Hardback | 578 pages
  • 171 x 251 x 36mm | 1,160g
  • Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Chicester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1. Auflage
  • 1405187336
  • 9781405187336
  • 2,660,264

Back cover copy

Few geographical regions of the United States have been more glamorized, mythologized -- and misunderstood -- than the American west. A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West presents an in depth and highly detailed exploration of historic and contemporary cultural expressions rooted in America's western states.

Historically and culturally, the west exhibits a richness and depth of cultural expression that is often at odds with the popular imagery. Divided into three thematic sections, the companion offers a series of illuminating essays by literary and cultural scholars to reveal the complexity of the many "wests" in our imagination and reality. The first section considers the west chiefly through a historical lens, both literary and cultural, exploring such topics as exploration and Gold Rush narratives, women's writings, the growth of suburbs, class and postcolonial perspectives, and the myriad of cultural expressions from many of the west's sub-regions and population groups. The chapters in the second section present a more genre-based approach, interpreting such topics as pictorial art, cinema, cowboy poetry, autobiography, nature writing, and detective fiction. In the final part, closer, more sustained readings of specific cases illuminate some of the west's persistent questions and issues, including those related to identity, performance, representation, and marketing.



A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West offers a fully realized portrait of the depth and complexity of cultural expressions that continue to emerge from the American west.
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Table of contents

Notes on Contributors viii Part I: Introduction 1 1 Imagining the West 3 Nicolas S. Witschi Part II: Regions and Histories 11 2 Exploration, Trading, Trapping, Travel, and Early Fiction, 1780 1850 13 Edward Watts 3 Worlds of Wonder and Ambition: Gold Rush California and the Culture of Mining Bonanzas in the North American West 29 Peter J. Blodgett 4 The Literate West of Nineteenth-Century Periodicals 48 Tara Penry 5 A History of American Women s Western Books, 1833 1928 63 Nina Baym 6 Literary Cultures of the American Southwest 81 Daniel Worden 7 Literary Cartography of the Great Plains 98 Susan Naramore Maher 8 The Literary Northern Rockies as The Last Best Place 115 O. Alan Weltzien 9 North by Northwest: The Last Frontier of Western Literature 130 Eric Heyne 10 Chronotopes of the Asian American West 145 Hsuan L. Hsu 11 African American Literature and Culture and the American West 161 Michael K. Johnson 12 Mythical Frontiers: Manifest Destiny, Aztlan, and the Cosmic Race 177 John L. Escobedo 13 Writing the Indigenous West 191 Kathleen Washburn 14 Framing Class in the Rural West: Cowboys, Double-wides, and McMansions 213 Nancy Cook 15 Postcolonial West 229 Alex Hunt 16 New West, Urban and Suburban Spaces, Postwest 244 Krista Comer Part III: Varieties and Forms 261 17 What We Talk About When We Talk About Western Art 263 Brian W. Dippie 18 All Hat and No Cattle : Romance, Realism, and Late Nineteenth-Century Western American Fiction 281 Gary Scharnhorst 19 The Coyote Nature of Cowboy Poetry 297 Barbara Barney Nelson 20 The Wind Blew Them Away : Folksinging the West, 1880 1930 316 David Fenimore 21 Autobiography 336 Gioia Woods 22 Housing the American West: Western Women s Literature, Early Twentieth Century and Beyond 353 Cathryn Halverson 23 The Apple Doesn t Fall Far from the Tree: Western American Literature and Environmental Literary Criticism 367 Hal Crimmel 24 Detective Fiction 380 Nicolas S. Witschi 25 The American Western Film 395 Corey K. Creekmur 26 Post-Western Cinema 409 Neil Campbell Part IV: Issues, Themes, Case Studies 425 27 America Unscripted: Performing the Wild West 427 Jefferson D. Slagle 28 Revising Public Memory in the American West: Native American Performance in the Ramona Outdoor Play 443 Karen E. Ramirez 29 Omnimedia Marketing: The Case of The Lone Ranger 462 Chadwick Allen 30 The Nuclear Southwest 483 Audrey Goodman 31 Ranging over Stegner s Arid West: Mobility as Adaptive Strategy 499 Bonney MacDonald 32 The Global West: Temporality, Spatial Politics, and Literary Production 514 Susan Kollin 33 Tumbling Dice: The Problem of Las Vegas 528 Stephen Tatum and Nathaniel Lewis Index 547
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Review quote

"Wonders abound in this indispensable book, the widest survey of the new scholarship of the multiple American Wests yet produced. Summing Up: Essential. All readers." (Choice, 1 November 2011)
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About Nicolas S. Witschi

Nicolas S. Witschi is Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Department of English, Western Michigan University. He is the author of Traces of Gold: California s Natural Resources and the Claim to Realism in Western American Literature (2002), a Western Writers Series monograph on Alonzo Old Block Delano (2006), and various articles and essays on Mary Austin, John Muir, Sinclair Lewis, and Henry James.
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