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Western Fiction

An introductory presentation to the Western fiction genre for Popular Materials.
by

Melissa Troyer

on 9 March 2016

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Transcript of Western Fiction

Western Fiction
Genre Features
Genre Experts
Genre Readers
Libraries
western
novel
setting
style
characteristics
characters
tone
plot
strong sense of
time and place
19th century
the frontier
"the West"
geographically
ambiguous
locally
specific
after the Civil War
landscape
character of land more than geography
very important: frequently described
wild
untamed
full of potential
virgin territory
desert
prairie
women
lone ranger
"injuns"
wandering
knight
the way things are
progress
ruggedness
of the West
civilization
of the East
major conflicts
nostalgia
melancholy
elegiac
dark
gritty
violent
humorous
bright
adventurous
"Old Paint" by the Lazy B Wranglers
"Ghost Riders in the Sky" by the Lazy B Wranglers
"Orange Blossom Special" by the Lazy B Wranglers
shorter books
varied pacing
brief
dialogue
uses dialect
heavy description
of landscape
history
1st critically recognized:
The Virginian
Owen Wister, 1902
Popularity grows:
Riders of the Purple Sage Zane Grey, 1912
1900
1940
pulp magazines
penny dreadfuls dime novels
Movies and comics help popularize the genre.
1910
Genre peaks in popularity;
western television shows.
1960
Readership declines.
1985 Knockouts:
Lonesome Dove
Larry McMurty
Blood Meridian
Cormac McCarthy
1970
Readership at an
all-time low,
but cult followings remain strong.
2000
subgenres
romance
exploration stories
mystery
sci-fi
women's lives
key authors
horror
fantasy
Owen Wister
Zane Grey
Max Brand
Louis
L'Amour
Elmer
Kelton
Cormac
McCarthy
Larry
McMurty
movies
current movies
active readers
escape
self-identification
potential readers
romance
mystery
historical
fiction
Western Writers of America
Spur Award
: writing about the West
Lariat Award
: supporting WWA and Western literature
Owen Wister Award
: lifetime contribution to Western literature
National Cowboy and
Western Heritage Museum
Western Heritage Award
: the year’s best Western literature, art, music, and film
Chester A. Reynolds Award
: presented for embodying the spirit of the West
booklists
Biographical Westerns
Lawmen
Short Stories: Westerns
Classic Westerns
Outlaws
List of booklists from various sources,
including WWA and public libraries.
Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield
Readers' Advisory
vast genre
similar themes
different writing styles
Listen for clues about pacing and mood!
Genre Promotion
author events
book clubs
displays
Full transcript