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238 Western American Literature been passed off as being a half-way point between the popular cowboy westerns and the work of such critically acclaimed writers as Walter Van Tilburg Clark, A. B. Guthrie Jr., and Frederick Manfred. Reasons for this critical bias exist, and they demand attention, but a novel such as Beyond The Desert makes a valid case for considering Rhodes as a literary artist. For one thing there is the impressionistic sweep of the land itself, central to all of Rhodes’ work, a feeling in words for the vastness and loneliness of the Southwest which has been equalled since only by Tom Lea. There is as well the beautifully developed conflict between the older way of life, represented by La Huerta, “The Garden,” and the inevitable but necessary advance of civilization, represented by the coming of the Bee Line railroad and its search for pure boiler water. It is noteworthy that Rhodes denies the romantic tendency to align the forces of good and evil purely with respect to garden arid machine. Instead, the lines are drawn according to the motivation on the part of the characters involved in the conflict—individual greed versus benevolent fellowship. The characters, themselves, are probably Rhodes’ strong­ est point. Lithpin Sam and Bat Cremony, Bud Copeland and Jake Fowler—■ heroes and villains respectively—his heroes perhaps too sunny and bright in their unselfish fellowship, his villains perhaps too rigidly stereotyped by their appalling greed, but each, nonetheless, a memorable vignette. The blending together of these three elements—landscape, theme, and character—mark Rhodes as more than a teller of Wstern tales. For opening up the possibility of a greater appreciation and evaluation of Rhodes’ narrative skill, Bison Books is to be commended. The current reprint contains an introduction by W. H. Hutchinson, Rhodes’ biographer and bibliographer, and is further enhanced by its cover and frontispiece, reproductions of paintings by W. H. D. Koerner, a distinguished western artist who illustrated many of Rhodes’ stories when they were originally serialized in The Saturday Evening Post. J . W. H u tc h in s o n Astoria or Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains. By Washington Irving. Edited by Edgeley W. Todd. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964. xlix + 556 pages, map, illus., index, $7.95.) In his Preface to A Tour on the Prairies Washington Irving declared that the region through which he had been traveling—“fruitful of wonders and Reviews 239 adventures”—had “already been made the theme of spirit-stirring narratives from abler pens.” Actually, this was pure modesty. Irving remains even today the “discoverer” of the West. A mere handful of single journals like those of Gass with Lewis and Clark, of Captain Pike to the Southwest, of John Brad­ bury and Henry Marie Brackenridge on the Missouri in 1811 and of John Nuttall on the Arkansas in 1819 had appeared before Irving looked westward. Of more comprehensive accounts there were only the Biddle edition of the journals of Lewis and Clark and the Edwin James’ account of Stephen H. Long’s western expedition. It was indeed Washington Irving with his Tour on the Prairies, Astoria, and Adventures of Captain Bonneville, who was the first great roving correspondent of the trans-Mississippi West. Now, at last, after a nearly a century and a third we have the first (and certainly definitive) edition of his long and deservedly popular story of John Jacob Astor’s adventure into the fur trade of the far Northwest, Astoria or Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains, a master work examined and annotated by a master editor. It was the fashion in the Parrington -dominated American academic world in the 1930’s to disparage Irving’s work on western history as mere potboiling performed to please the rich Mr. Astor and in a calculated way to take advantage of the rising interest in the western frontier. Irving was regularly reproved for not having a correct socialjustice point of view. During these years it was the historians, not the literary critics, who valued Irving’s contribution to frontier history. Through the work of Professor Todd we can come to a reasoned judgment which will...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 238-240
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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