Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Despite there being only one name on the cover and title page, I cannot claim full credit for the genesis and development of this book. At every stage of the process, I benefitted from the assistance of the finest scholars, mentors, and friends that anyone could ask for. What follows is but a quick accounting of the most important influences on this book....

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Introduction: The American Historical Frontier Romance as Vehicle for Cultural Critique

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pp. 1-28

Americans have always loved stories set on the frontier. The exploits of rugged frontiersmen like Natty Bumppo, Daniel Boone, Buffalo Bill, and others have long entertained readers of dime novels and literary fiction, as well as viewers of popular television shows and movies. Such figures and their romanticized adventures form the backbone of the mythology...

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1 /Rewriting the Historical Record: The “False Documents” and Failed Frontiersmen of E. L. Doctorow and John Barth

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pp. 29-64

As Richard Slotkin demonstrates in Regeneration through Violence, the myth of Daniel Boone developed in large part due to the written accounts of his life and exploits by both American and European writers. The various treatments of Daniel Boone by John Filson in the late eighteenth century serve as the starting point to Boone’s development as a key figure in the American frontier mythology. Numerous American...

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2 /“Crimes of Demarcation”: Spatial and Cultural Transgression in Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon

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pp. 65-93

Along with his contemporary John Barth, Thomas Pynchon has produced dense, complex works that challenge readers and critics alike with their formal and thematic convolutions. Just as the works of both writers are now widely considered to belong to the canon of historiographic metafiction, both writers were labeled early on as “black humorists,” a...

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3 /The Signifyin’ Cowboy: Ishmael Reed’s Wild Western Reimaginations

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pp. 94-114

In his landmark essay “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” Frederick Jackson Turner noted of the American frontier: “In the settlement of America we have to observe how European life entered the continent, and how America modified and developed that life. . . . The wilderness masters the colonist. It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, modes of travel, and thought.”1 In a now-classic case of the erasure...

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4 /Speaking for the Mixedblood Other: “Carefully Distorted” History in Gerald Vizenor’s The Heirs of Columbus

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pp. 115-134

Founded in 1968 by two members of the Minnesota Anishinaabe (Chippewa) tribe, Dennis Banks and George Mitchell, the American Indian Movement, or AIM, “was self-consciously patterned after the Black Panther Party’s community self-defense model pioneered by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale two years previously in Oakland.”1 Chapters...

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5 /“The World Which He Inherits Bears Him False Witness”: A Reading of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and Border Trilogy

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pp. 135-164

With these words, Judge Holden seeks to instruct his marauding followers—those western “bad men” who have aligned themselves with the judge’s evil pursuits—about the nature of the world. The world, the judge argues, is chaotic and inherently without order; whatever order it appears to have is an order we bring to it, a story of our own composition....

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Coda: New Directions for the Mythology of the American Frontier

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pp. 165-172

The temptation to close, to limit, to set boundaries in time and space repeatedly reappears throughout the works examined in this study as a means of exerting control. Additionally, academic studies themselves are bound to set limits in the course of their work: What genre? What period? What area? What manifestation of the frontier? are all questions with...

Notes

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pp. 173-202

Bibliography

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pp. 203-218

Index

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pp. 219-223