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72 WesternAmerican Literature Richard Brautigan’s The Hawkline Monster, E. L. Doctorow’s Welcome to Hard Times,John Hawkes’ TheBeetleLeg, and Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid as gothic Westerns. In his analysis of these, Davis is strongest on Brautigan and Hawkes; Ondaatje’s work seems too complex to be adequately dealt with in afew pages, and while Davis objects to Doctorow’s “bad version”of the West, he does not explain his objections clearly enough. But this chapter, as well as the one on science fiction Westerns, would be useful to a reader unfamiliar with these forms. (One note:Jack Schaefer’s name is misspelled on page 79.) With an excellent discussion ofMel Brooks’BlazingSaddleshighlighting the final chapter, “The Reader as Cowboy: Postmodern Westerns,” Davis ends the book strongly. Overall, Playing Cowboys can be recommended for bringing together material on a variety of seemingly incongruous types of Westerns. CANDYKLASCHUS University ofHartford Desert, Garden, Margin, Range: Literature on the American Frontier. Edited by Eric Heyne. (New York: Twayne, 1992. 182 pages, $25.95/$12.95.) The ten essays of Desertexamine the variety of ways in which literature has explored the frontier. The first five selections discuss traditionally canonical works by such writers as Cooper, Hawthorne, and Sandoz, while the second set of five concentrates on marginalized texts by Chicano, Native American, Cana­ dian, and women writers. Heyne’s introduction discusses how our understand­ ing of the frontier and its role in literature has changed in the last twentyyears. A number of such collections have appeared recently, and Heyne’s has many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the others. Disparate topics, brief discussions, and an imbalance of qualitywork against all such groupings. Those problems are most evident in Part I of Desert, with the exception of Louise Barnett’s discussion of “Speech in the Wilderness” in Cooper’s Deerslayer and Reginald Dyck’s focus on “Frontier Violence in the Garden of America.” But Part II, “Exploring New Territories,” is well worth the time of any reader of American narrative. These essays combine variety and insight with sufficient length on topics not previously explored—MaryJemison’s captivity narrative, Maria Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie, and three Native American “Narratives of Con­ tact,”for example, are superb. Eric Heyne’s Introduction is intelligent and useful but perhaps promises more than the collection delivers. All in all I was pleased to have access to these essays and think other readers will have a similar response. CARL BREDAHL University ofFlorida ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
p. 72
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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