The story of western literature is the story of two Wests, the one immediately and deeply persuasive, the second more complex in its intentions and effects. This anthology, gathered and introduced by distinguished western scholar Thomas J. Lyon, offers a paramic literary range of the American west, from the romance of the mythic Wild West to the present-day creative explosion of the real, diverse west. The regional expanse of this authoritative and adventuresome selection of short stories, essays, plays, and vel excerpts stretches from the Great Plains, Texas and the Southwest, the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin interior, to California and the Northwest. Including selections from Pedro Font, Meriweather Lewis, Willa Cather, James Fenimore Cooper, Owen Wister, Zane Grey, John Muir, Tillie Olsen, Rick Bass, Amy Tan, Sarah Winnemucca, and N. Scott Momaday, among others, the volume is organized in five main sections: Discovery and Exploration, Pioneering and Settlement, The Mythic West, Modernism and the Realistic West, Recent and Contemporary Currents, and The Native West. From the projective Great Frontier of dime-store vels to the real west brought to light by sixteenth century explorers, mid-nineteenth century realists and naturalists, and todays environmentalists and ethnic writers, The Literary West offers students a comprehensive overview of the vital field of Western American literature.
Thomas J. Lyon is Professor Emeritus of English at Utah State University and former President of the Western Literature Association.