A Companion to the Literature and Culture of theAmerican West
Buy Rights Online Buy Rights

Rights Contact Login For More Details

More About This Title A Companion to the Literature and Culture of theAmerican West


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


Nicolas S. Witschi is Professor of English at Western Michigan University. A past co-president of the Western Literature Association, he is the author of Traces of Gold: California’s Natural Resources and the Claim to Realism in Western American Literature (2002) and of a Western Writers Series monograph on Alonzo “Old Block” Delano (2006). He is also the co-editor with Melody Graulich of Dirty Words in "Deadwood": Literature and the Postwestern (2013).


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, Aztlán, 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