“The ‘Western’: The Definition of the Myth”

The Library of America Blog shares the an essay by John Williams on the Western novel and the West, “The ‘Western’: The Definition of the Myth. “’There’s a very real sense in which “The West” does not, did not ever, exist. It’s a dream of The East—almost as if The East made up The West,’ John Williams told fellow novelist Dan Wakefield in 1981 while describing the basic idea behind Butcher’s Crossing: ‘What if a guy from Harvard with all kinds of Emersonian notions comes to the West and sees nature, sees what it is and what’s going to happen to him, and that’s where the novel begins.’”

Read more here.

1 reply »

  1. For example Hollywood — it has scooped up every Western trope from Wild Bill Hickock, through Annie Oakley, through John Ford to Raymond Chandler, not neglecting Mae West.


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