Ernest Haycox and the Western

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University of Oklahoma Press, Sep 14, 2017 - Biography & Autobiography - 200 pages
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Western fans today may not recognize the name Ernest Haycox (1899–1950), but they know his work. John Ford turned one of his stories into the iconic film Stagecoach, and the whole Western literary genre still follows conventions that Haycox deftly mastered and reshaped. In this new book about Haycox’s literary career, Richard W. Etulain tells the engrossing story of his rise through the ranks of popular magazine and serial fiction to become one of the Western’s most successful creators.

After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1923 with a degree in journalism, Haycox began his quest to break into New York’s pulp magazine scene, submitting dozens of stories before he began to make a living from his writing. By the end of the 1920s he had become a top writer for Western Story, Short Stories, and Adventure, among other popular weeklies and monthlies.

Ernest Haycox and the Western traces Haycox’s path from rank beginner, to crack pulp writer, to regular contributor to Collier’s and the Saturday Evening Post. Etulain shows how Haycox experimented with techniques to deepen and broaden his Westerns, creating more introspective protagonists (Hamlet heroes), introducing new types of heroines (the brunette vixen, the blonde Puritan), and weaving greater historical realism into his plots. After reaching the height of success with his best-selling Custer novel, Bugles in the Afternoon (1944), Haycox moved away from the financially rewarding but artistically constricting Western formula—only to achieve his final coup with The Earthbreakers, a historical novel about the end of the Oregon Trail, published posthumously in 1952.

Reconstructing the career of a popular literary giant, Ernest Haycox and the Western restores Haycox to his rightful place in the history of Western literature.

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Ernest Haycox and the Western

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Ernest Haycox (1899–1950) was an influential writer of historical Western fiction from Oregon whose goal was to master the techniques of the genre. Haycock wrote hundreds of novels, short stories, and ... Read full review


List of Illustrations
The Early Years 18991920
At the Univeristy of Oregon 19201923
The Early Years in Colliers 19311937
The Historical Western 19371943
A Period of Revolt 19441950
A Career in Perspective
The Writings of Ernest Haycox

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About the author (2017)

Richard W. Etulain is Professor Emeritus of History and former director of the Center for the American West at the University of New Mexico. He has served as editor of the New Mexico Historical Review and is the author or editor of more than 60 books, including Beyond the Missouri: The Story of the American West, Telling Western Stories: From Buffalo Bill to Larry McMurtry, and The Life and Legends of Calamity Jane.

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