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True West

True West
William B. Handley
Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2004
PS561 T78 2004

In no other region of the United States has the notion of authenticity played such an important yet illusive role as it has in the West. Though pervasive in literature, popular culture, and history, assumptions about western authenticity have not received adequate critical attention. Given the ongoing economic and social transformations in the vast region, the persistent nostalgia and desire for the "real" authentic West suggest regional and national identities at odds with themselves. True West explores the concept of authenticity as it is used to invent, test, advertise and read the West.

The fifteen essays collected here apply contemporary critical and cultural theory to western literary history, Native American literature and identities, the visual West, and the imagining of place. Ranging geographically from the Canadian Prairies to Buena Park's Entertainment Corridor in Southern California, and chronologically from the early tourist narratives to contemporary environmental writing,True West challenges many assumptions we make about western writing and opens the door to an important new chapter in western literary history and cultural criticism.

Quoted from dust jacket.