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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
There was a time when Westerns – in print, on film, on television – were dismissed, offhandedly, as simplistic, formula-bound trash. They were suitable for the twirling wire papeback racks and the bottom halves of movie double-features, but no more. Entertaining? Well, yes . . . if you were a small boy, or an undemanding adult. Vehicles for exploring on Big Themes and Significant Issues? Preposterous. Now, of course, it’s that attitude that seems preposterous. Larry McMurtry has a Pulitzer for Lonesome Dove, Clint Eastwood has an Oscar for Unforgiven, and Tombstone, with its scruffy characters and baroque dialogue, has a well-deserved reputation as a television classic. John Cawelti’s The Six-Gun Mystique was on the leading edge of the intellectual revolution that separates Then from Now. It’s an earnest, impassioned argument for the idea that Westerns are worthy of serious study by literature scholars and cultural historians, a model for how such a study might be conducted, and a guide to the literary and cinematic landscape of Westerns for scholars who might not have grown up with The Virginian, Shane, and Gunsmoke. Cawelti takes pains to show his seriousness and his literature-scholar chops, invoking critics like Northrop Frye, and discussing Max Brand and Zane Grey in terms of heroic archetypes. The Westerns, he argues, are part of our national mythology. Our Hercules carries a Colt revolver and rides a chestnut mare; our King Arthur wears a marshal’s star. Everyone who now writes about Westerns – me included – rides down trails that The Six-Gun Mystique helped, decades ago, to open. Much of what Cawelti argued for so carefully then is taken as read, now, because he made the case, and got others to take it, and the Western, seriously. For students and serious fans of the genre, his work is still well worth reading – not just as an homage to an intellectual ancestor, but as an education.
Review: Six Gun MystiqueUser Review - A. Bowdoin Van Riper - Goodreads
There was a time when Westerns – in print, on film, on television – were dismissed, offhandedly, as simplistic, formula-bound trash. They were suitable for the twirling wire papeback racks and the ... Read full review
Seeing is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the ...
No preview available - 2001