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92 Western American Literature and a cast of businessmen and neighbors and relations which seems almost to be drawn from a sociological breakdown. What makes this a felt novel rather than an exercise in socio-economic extrapolation is the compassion and integrity with which Grady moves and develops his characters. The portraits are complex with desire and pain and thwarted dreams, free of condemnation or praise according to type. No “good guys” and no “bad guys.” A full range of personal and moral choice is displayed and given just consideration, though it is clear where Grady’s sympathies lie. In the process through which the western novel attempts to move beyond the horse-opera stereotype — an evolution hampered by the glad acceptance of the reading public of the old-west myths and types — this novel is an important and necessary stage. In its more raw and less journalistic passages, it cuts to the bone. C. L. RAWLINS, Cora, Wyoming Legendary Ladies of Texas. Edited by Francis Edward Abernethy. (Dallas: E-Heart Press, 1981. $24.95 cloth.) Legendary Ladies of Texas, publication No. 43 of the Texas Folklore Society, is a collection of some twenty-five essays on women who became legends in Texas. The book is tastefully designed, is illustrated with photo­ graphs and line drawings, and is well bound in an attractive cover. Most of the selections concern individual ladies. It is instructive to note that certain women were not included such as Sarah Hughes, Oveta Culp Hobby, Greer Garson, or Barbara Jordan. To be important and accom­ plished is not enough to be included; the lady had also to have some legen­ dary quality or strange appeal, so that it is difficult to separate fact from lore. First came the woman, then came the legend, and the legend often obscured the original woman’s life in some cases. It appears that some truths deep in Texas culture cannot be expressed with mere facts alone, but must have a larger than life story. The editor, Francis Edward Abernethy, secretary of the Texas Folklore Society, proposes in his preface that “This forty-third volume of the Publication £ of the Texas Folklore Society is dedicated to all the great women who touch a man’s life and make it worth living: to our grandmothers, those great old snufF-dipping pioneers and settler sisters who were Texans when the range grass was stirrup high; to the mothers who raised us and are still convinced that someday we’re going to grow up and be responsible citizens; to the wives who have blessed us and baned us ... , and to our dear daugh­ ters who have loved us more than we can possibly expect or deserve” (p. xii). Reviews 93 One of the most entertaining stories in the collection concerns Emily Morgan, the original “Yellow Rose of Texas,” who was a golden-skinned, long-haired mulatto girl, not a slave, but an indentured servant. She was captured by Santa Ana in 1836 for his own lustful purposes and she man­ aged to send Sam Houston word of the Mexican approach and did deliber­ ately, so legend says, keep Santa Ana oblivious to impending danger that day on the field of San Jacinto. Her dalliance with the Mexican general won the day for the Texans. Perhaps the only objection one might have to the volume is the rather chauvinistic introduction by the editor, but if one knows anything at all about folklore, one knows it is a highly male-oriented subject. In Legendary Ladies of Texas, Abernethy has a good collection on a different kind of Texas woman; as he says, “the legends that grew from the seed of their deeds transcended their times and became larger than their times as we invented them with some aspect of our culture’s chief values” (p. xi). DORYS C. GROVER East Texas State University Joan Didion. By Mark Royden Winchell. (Boston: Twayne Publishers/G. K. Hall, 1980. 185 pages, $8.95.) James Dickey probably intended to compliment Joan Didion when he called her the “finest woman prose stylist writing in English today,” but the limitation by gender seems unnecessary, if one does not insist upon a large...


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