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A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West

ISBN: 978-1-4051-8733-6
578 pages
May 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West (1405187336) cover image
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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Note on Contributors.

Part I: Introduction.

1 Imagining The West (Nicolas S. Witschi).

Part II: Regions and Histories.

2 Exploration, Trading, Trapping, Travel, and Early Fiction, 1780-1850 (Edward Watts).

3 Worlds of Wonder and Ambition: Gold Rush California and the Culture of Mining Bonanzas in the North American West (Peter J. Blodgett).

4 The Literate West of Nineteenth-Century Periodicals (Tara Penry).

5 A History of American Women's Western Books, 1833-1928 (Nina Baym).

6 Literary Cultures of the American Southwest (Daniel Worden).

7 Literary Cartography of the Great Plains (Susan Naramore Maher).

8 The Literary Northern Rockies as The Last Best Place (O. Alan Weltzien).

9 North by Northwest: The Last Frontier of Western Literature (Eric Heyne).

10 Chronotopes of the Asian American West (Hsuan L. Hsu).

11 African American Literature and Culture and the American West (Michael K. Johnson).

12 Mythical Frontiers: Manifest Destiny, Aztlán, and the Cosmic Race (John L. Escobedo).

13 Writing the Indigenous West (Kathleen Washburn).

14 Framing Class in the Rural West: Cowboys, Double-Wides and McMansions (Nancy Cook).

15 Postcolonial West (Alex Hunt).

16 New West, Urban and Suburban Spaces, Postwest (Krista Comer).

Part III: Varieties and Forms.

17 What We Talk about When We Talk about Western Art (Brian W. Dippie).

18 "All Hat and No Cattle": Romance, Realism, and Late-19th-Century Western American Fiction (Gary Scharnhorst).

19 The Coyote Nature of Cowboy Poetry (Barbara Barney Nelson).

20 "The Wind Blew Them Away": Folksinging the West, 1880-1930 (David Fenimore).

21 Autobiography (Gioia Woods).

22 Housing the American West: Western Women’s Literature, Early Twentieth Century and Beyond (Cathryn Halverson).

23 The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree: Western American Literature and Environmental Literary Criticism (Hal Crimmel).

24 Detective Fiction (Nicolas S. Witschi).

25 The American Western Film (Corey K. Creekmur).

26 Post-Western Cinema (Neil Campbell).

Part IV: Issues, Themes, Case Studies.

27 America Unscripted: Performing the Wild West (Jefferson D. Slagle).

28 Revising Public Memory in the American West: Native American Performance in the Ramona Outdoor Play (Karen E. Ramirez).

29 Omnimedia Marketing: The Case of The Lone Ranger (Chadwick Allen).

30 The Nuclear Southwest (Audrey Goodman).

31 Ranging Over Stegner’s Arid West: Mobility as Adaptive Strategy (Bonney MacDonald).

32 The Global West: Temporality, Spatial Politics, and Literary Production (Susan Kollin).

33 Tumbling Dice: The Problem of Las Vegas (Stephen Tatum and Nathaniel Lewis).


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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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"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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