Updating the literary west
Lindsey '44 Fund, Texas A & M University Press, 2004. The result is a standard anything but literary, as Nathaniel Lewis observes in this ambitious work, a wholesale rethinking of the critical terms and contexts? The skewed status of western literature, Lewis contends, can be directly attributed to the strategies of the region?
This volume places the literature in deep historical context and features a chronology and a bibliography for further reading.ø With unequivocal admiration for the literature under scrutiny, Lewis exposes the potential for startling new readings once western writing is freed from its insistence on a questionable authenticity.His book sets out a broader system of inquiry that points writers and critics of western literature in the direction of a new and truly sustaining literary tradition.Through its examination of the disparate and multifaceted body of literature that arises from a broad array of cultural backgrounds and influences, Before the West Was West apprehends the literary West in temporal as well as spatial and cultural terms and poses new questions about “westernness” and its literary representation.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.
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Before the West Was West examines the extent to which scholars have engaged in-depth with pre-1800 “western” texts and asks what we mean by “western” American literature in the first place and when that designation originated.