Is it accurate?
The result is a standard anything but literary, as Nathaniel Lewis observes in this ambitious work, a wholesale rethinking of the critical terms and contexts? The skewed status of western literature, Lewis contends, can be directly attributed to the strategies of the region?
Unsettling the Literary West
A perusal of western American authorship reveals how these writers effectively present themselves as accurate and reliable recorders of real places, histories, and cultures? The imaginative qualities of this literature are thus obscured in the name of authentic reproduction.
Through a study of a set of western authors and their relationships to literary and cultural history, Lewis offers a reconsideration of the deceptive and often undervalued history of western American literature. His book sets out a broader system of inquiry that points writers and critics of western literature in the direction of a new and truly sustaining literary tradition. Trade Cloth The readings in Playing House investigate the surprising textual ends to which westerners turn the familiar terrain of the home: evaluating community; arguing for different conceptions of race and class; and perhaps most especially, resisting traditional gender roles.
Western women writers, Halverson argues, render the home as a stage for autonomy, resistance, and imagination rather than as a site of sacrifice and obligation. The western women examined in Playing House in the American West are promoted and read as representatives of a region, as insiders offering views of distant and intriguing ways of life, even as they conceive of themselves as outsiders.
By playing with domestic conventions, they recast the region they describe, portraying the West as a place that fosters female agency, individuality, and subjectivity. She is an associate professor of American literature at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Its chronological scope is large, as is its range of writers and genres. West as a space of liberating domesticity--the more unorthodox, the better.
- True West : William R. Handley : .
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Exploring women life writers who range across race, class, sexuality, period, and genre, she excavates compelling conversations and legacies, unsettles assumptions about home-making, and mines unsuspected layers of textual play. The revealed relationship between women and the West just became that much richer.