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Historical "westerns"

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Joined: September 2010
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Post by wendy » Tue April 19th, 2011, 12:14 pm

[quote=""wendallpauls""]Just a quick question about the Willa Cather selections here. Being that I've only read "My Antonia", which I thought was wonderful, I've never viewed any of her writings as being part of the 'Western' genre. 'Pioneering', yes; I could see that very well, as her writing seemed to take place after the turn of the century. Or is there anything I am missing here?[/quote]

Cather scholars (of which I am one) do not generally catagorize her writings as part of the Western genre. We consider her to be one of the earliest American Modernists and a writer of Pioneer Literature. The three books mentioned do, however, fit into the general Western category because they are set in frontier locations, but ony Death Comes for the Archbishop mentions any famous Wild West-type figures (Kit Carson). There are no gun fights, and only a few references to Native Americans outside of DCFTA. Cather was more interested in the creation process - how do you found a French colony in Canada - or convert pagans to Christianity - or become a world-class opera star? She was constantly exploring "The Idea" of things.
Wendy K. Perriman
Fire on Dark Water (Penguin, 2011)

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