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Reviews 313 novel, though meanwhile her stint in editing for McClures has showed her that she must cast off all obligations that will keep her from writing. The power in these two volumes is this—that though Willa Cather’s work and life appeared to be all of one piece before Curtin did the research on this project, it now appears still more so because the work has uncovered a mountain of evidence supporting what was formerly merely an impression for the early years of Cather’s work. Curtin’s work shows that Cather learned much through the years, but that her early work is very much a harbinger of her later. At the same time, these two volumes give a vivid review of the atmosphere in which the sophisticated theater goer and the litterateur moved during the years just before and at the opening of the twentieth century. M ay n ard Fox, Fort Lewis College The Literature of the American West. Edited by J. Golden Taylor. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1971. xvi -f- 592 pages, bibliographies, index; paperbound, $5.95.) In a time of quickly assembled—thrown together, really—anthologies, it is refeshing to encounter a collection as comprehensive, as truly edited as J. Golden Taylor’s The Literature of the American West. As the editor explains in his preface, he made both quality and representativeness criteria for inclusion; he has pretty well succeeded on both counts. And he apty notes that the “best books properly subordinate local color peculiarities of the West and transcend their settings by showing man in the West involved in Mankind’s universal struggles” (p. vi) . This is no overcompensatory volume claiming that the only relevant American literature is that produced in the West; it is, rather, a collection of literature and scholarship that, in toto, presents a very compelling argu­ ment for the serious examination of literature produced by Western exper­ ience. It is fitting comment no this well-balanced volume that the first piece anthologized is Don D. Walked’s sharp spoof of hyper-serious Western literary criticism, “The Rise and Fall of Barney Tullus.” Advises Taylor: “A good start can be made in the study of western literature if we recognize that there might just creep into our critical pronouncements certain elements of bias and irrelevancies . . .’’ (p. 1). The Literature of the American West is organized generically into nine sections: The Novel, The Novella, The Short Story, Poetry, The Essay of Social Criticism, The Nature Essay, The Adventure Narrative, Myth and Legend, and The Humorous Sketch. Each section is followed by a selected bibliography for further reading. 314 Western American Literature After noting the central importance of the novel in Western litera­ ture, Taylor includes six selections about Western novels, recommending that novels be read to supplement the anthology. He includes, along with the Walker piece listed earlier, essays on The Grapes of Wrath, The Ox-Bow Incident, and Little Big Man. Add to these Max Westbrook’s brilliant study, “Conservative, Liberal, and Western: Three Modes of American Realism,” and John R. Milton’s symposium on the Western novel, including comments by eight prominent novelists, and a very firm base for study is established. The Novella section includes three complete works which together constitute a brilliant cross-section of Western letters: The Canyon, by Jack Schaefer, Paso Por Aqui by Eugene Manlove Rhodes, and Walter Van Til­ burg Clark’s The Watchful Gods. The short stories are too numerous and diverse to be listed, but suffice it to say one can move from Andy Adams to Stewart Edward White to Jack London to A. B. Guthrie and still have plenty left to read; it is a judicious and stimulating section. The poetry section in­ cludes figures from Bert Hart and Joaquin Miller, through Robinson Jeffers and Thomas Hornsby Ferrill, to such moderns as Gary Snyder and N. Scott Momaday. Two scholarly essays, one dealing with Allen Swallow, the other with William Stafford, are also included. The other sections feature work by most of the better known western authors: Wallace Stegner, Joseph Wood Krutch, and David Brower, among the nature writers; excerpts from the plans for the Lewis and Clark expedi...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 313-314
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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