Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture: Marriage, Violence and the Nation in the American Literary West Series Number 132 (Paperback)
  • Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture: Marriage, Violence and the Nation in the American Literary West Series Number 132 (Paperback)
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Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture: Marriage, Violence and the Nation in the American Literary West Series Number 132 (Paperback)

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Paperback 276 Pages / Published: 11/01/2009
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In Marriage, Violence and the Nation in the American Literary West, William R. Handley examines literary interpretations of the Western American past. Handley argues that although scholarship provides a narrative of western history that counters optimistic story of frontier individualism by focusing on the victims of conquest, twentieth-century American fiction tells a different story of intra-ethnic violence surrounding marriages and families. He examines works of historiography,as well as writing by Zane Grey, Willa Cather, Wallace Stegner and Joan Didion among others, to argue that these works highlight white Americans' anxiety about what happens to American 'character' when domestic enemies such as Indians and Mormon polygamists, against whom the nation had defined itself in the nineteenth century, no longer threaten its homes. Handley explains that once its enemies are gone, imperialism brings violence home in retrospective narratives that allegorise national pasts and futures through intimate relationships.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521093422
Number of pages: 276
Weight: 410 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'Marriage, Violence and the Nation in the American Literary West makes a significant contribution to scholarship on western American literature. Handley focuses upon marriage as an ongoing social fact through which twentieth-century fiction revises readings of the West as America's destiny. This is a 'must read' book for scholars of the American West in literature and also history.' Susan Rosowski, University of Nebraska
'William R. Handley's book demonstrates an important and fascinating argument: in twentieth century American literature, after the Native has been domesticated, scenes of white American domesticity and marriage turn violent, as Empire brings its guns home. With sophisticated analyses and fresh readings that are intelligent, lively and forceful, Handley's work will make a real difference in scholarship of the American west and in American Studies. ' Lee Mitchell, Princeton University
"With this fine book, William R. Handley joins ranks with a bright new generation of scholars who are bringing notable breadth, critical perspicacity, and theoretical sophistication to the study of western literature. His bold and often brilliant book succeeds because its explorations range so far afield and because it achieves such lucidity in the midst of the ambiguous and unfamiliar." Western American Literature
"He [Handley] shows that much of the brutality involved intra-ethnic or domestic violence, which novelists depicted as a product of a frontier society floundering for stability once the threat from Indians and other enemies waned." The Chronicle of Higher Education
"Focused by necessity on the ambiguous legacy of Frederick Turner's frontier thesis and deliberately crossing borders between literary criticism and historiography, this book makes a major contribution to the literature on western American cultural studies. Highly recommended." Choice

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