The American Western

by Stephen McVeigh

The American Western Synopsis

This wide-ranging book illuminates the importance of the Western in American history. It explores the interconnections between the Western in both literature and film and the United States in the 20th century. Structured chronologically, the book traces the evolution of the Western as a uniquely American form. The author argues that America's frontier past was quickly transformed into a set of symbols and myths, an American meta-narrative that came to underpin much of the 'American century'. He details how and why this process occurred, the form and function of Western myths and symbols, the evolution of this mythology, and its subversions and reconstructions throughout 20th-century American history. The book engages with the full range of historical, literary and cinematic perspectives and texts, from the founding Western histories of Theodore Roosevelt and Frederick Jackson Turner to the New Western history of Patricia Nelson Limerick and Richard White. Key texts used to illustrate the narrative include: *Owen Wister's The Virginian *Jack Schaefer's Shane *Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian *Ishmael Reed's Yellow Back Radio Broke Down *Films from Edwin Porter's The Great Train Robbery to Fred Zinneman's High Noon and from Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven to the post 9/11 Westerns Open Range, The Alamo and Brokeback Mountain This book is an essential and comprehensive analysis of the significance and enduring legacy of the American Western. Key Features: *Includes chapters on Western history, literature and film *Shows the interconnections between the Western (in all its forms) and 20th-century American history, politics, culture and society *The only book to take a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject.

The American Western Press Reviews

The American Western places depictions of the West into the complex history and spectacular landscape of this emblematically American region McVeigh's work lays claim to an impressive, interdisciplinary field of study. It should be read, taught, and appreciated. -- Professor Eric Sandeen, University of Wyoming Taken as a while The American Western further demonstrates the ongoing contemporaneous appeal and diverse meanings of the nation's frontier past... there is considerable merit in the author's integration of teh historical and literary along with cinematic depictions that illustrate the importance of the West in American political culture. -- John H Lenihan, Texas A&M University Western Historical Review The American Western places depictions of the West into the complex history and spectacular landscape of this emblematically American region McVeigh's work lays claim to an impressive, interdisciplinary field of study. It should be read, taught, and appreciated. Taken as a while The American Western further demonstrates the ongoing contemporaneous appeal and diverse meanings of the nation's frontier past... there is considerable merit in the author's integration of teh historical and literary along with cinematic depictions that illustrate the importance of the West in American political culture.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780748621415
Publication date: 15th February 2007
Author: Stephen McVeigh
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 256 pages
Categories: Film theory & criticism, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literary studies: from c 1900 -, History of the Americas, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,

About Stephen McVeigh

Stephen McVeigh is Lecturer in the Department of American Studies at the University of Wales, Swansea. Author of 'American Literature, 1900-1945. in The Year's Work in English Studies Volume 83 (OUP, 2004).

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