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WAL 3 6 .1 SPRING 2 0 0 1 N o t e s 1. For a discussion of the critical paradigms shaping the New Western History, see Forrest G. Robinson, “Clio Bereft of Calliope: Literature and the New Western History,” Arizona Quarterly 53.2 (Summer 1997), special issue on “The New Western History,” ed. Forrest G. Robinson, 61-98. 2. For more on the political economy of western tourism since the early 1990s, see William Riebsame, ed., Atlas of the New West: Portrait of a Changing Region (Boulder: Center for the American West, 1997); and Living in the Runaway West: Partisan Views from Writers on the Range, compiled by High Country News (Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum Publishers, 2000). F r o m t h e B o o k R e v i e w E d i t o r E v e l y n I. F u n d a A large portion of review copies we receive at Western American Literature are books publishers “volunteer,” or send to us without our ordering them, and as I sort through those piles of incoming books, sometimes patterns emerge, as did with the following reviews. This past year, our shelf devoted to fiction had more than a few of what can be characterized as historical fiction, and I won­ dered if there was a new (or rather, an old) trend (re)emerging. What follows, then, is a set of ten reviews considering the genre of historical fiction. Unlike the novelistic atmosphere of Westerns that dutifully ride to some vaguely established nineteenth-century date, these novels are set in some real and his­ torical context that emphasizes real people, events, or places during a specific era or epoch. In many cases, these are works where, as Tom Pilkington writes, “history supplies the main plot.” In others, “history” provides background. In either case, the writers explore the tension between “factual” time and place and the fictional impulse or the fiction of the mythic West. We see a whole range here from prehistory to the 1990s, that decade we so recently consigned to “history,” with stops in between at western American con­ flicts in Indian country and at the Texas-Mexico threshold. We see figures known for heroic deeds and members of ordinary families just struggling to survive. I’ll let the reader of these reviews judge if the western historical novel is a reemerging trend worth considering, but I do see our reviewers considering that the challenge ofwriting historical novels is a matter of gracefully integrating fact with nanative so that the connection of fiction and history is seamless. ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
p. 92
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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