The Western in the Global Literary Imagination


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This groundbreaking collection of essays tells the surprising story of how the American Western has shaped world literature, fueling provocative novels and reflections about national identity, settler colonialism, and violence. Containing nineteen chapters spanning Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia, Europe, Israel, and New Zealand, as well as a guiding, critical introduction, this book opens an exciting new chapter in the study of popular culture, literature, and globalization. Through this international lens, the literary Western casts off the categories of juvenilia and formula to come into focus as a vital and creative statement about identity, power, and history.

Contributors are: Zbigniew Białas, Manuela Borzone, Flavia Brizio-Skov, Alex Calder, Neil Campbell, Christopher Conway, Samir Dayal, Joel Deshaye, Johannes Fehrle, MaryEllen Higgins, Emily Hind, Shelly Jarenski, Rachel Leket-Mor, Warren Motte, Andrew Nette, Marek Paryż, David Rio, Steffen Wöll, and Sergei Zhuk

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Christopher Conway, Ph.D. (1996), is Professor of Spanish at the University of Texas at Arlington. His most recent monograph is Heroes of the Borderlands: The Western in Mexican Film, Comics, and Music (University of New Mexico Press, 2019). His current research is in comparative literature.

Marek Paryż, Ph.D. (2001), is Associate Professor of American Literature at the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw. He co-edited The Post-2000 Film Western: Contexts, Transnationality, Hybridity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). His recent scholarship focuses on the Western across narrative arts.

David Rio, Ph.D. (1994), is Professor of American Literature at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). He has published/co-edited several volumes and numerous articles on western American literature. He coordinates an international research group (REWEST) specialized in the cultures of the U.S. West.
Notes on Contributors

Mapping the Western in World Literature
Christopher Conway, Marek Paryz and David Rio

PART 1: The Americas: Contemporary Reinventions of the Literary Western across Borders

Postmodern Nation-Building: Popular Westerns in English-Canadian Literature
Johannes Fehrle
Rumor and the Celebrity of American Historical Figures in Contemporary Women’s Canadian Westerns
Joel Deshaye
“A Hidden Past of Unfiltered Sunlight and Space”: Reclaiming the Black West in Shelton Johnson’s Gloryland
Shelly Jarenski
Magical Realism, Postcolonialism, and the Western in Téa Obreht’s Inland
Christopher Conway
The Slowed-Down Showdown: Energopower in Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive (2019) and Álvaro Enrigue’s Ahora me rindo y eso es todo (2018)
Emily Hind
Old and New Voices on the Gaucho Frontier: Undoing the Legacy of Silence in Las aventuras de la China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara
Manuela Borzone

PART 2: Europe: The Literary Western between Romantic Adventurism and Postmodern Travesty

The Sealsfield Enigma and the Narrative Politics of the Transatlantic Western
Steffen Wöll
Reading James Fenimore Cooper in the USSR: The American Western Frontier and Native Americans in Soviet Imagination and Cultural Practices
Sergei I. Zhuk
Poles on the American Frontier: A Short History of a Literary Fantasy
Marek Paryz
Into the Errant West: Carys Davies’ West
Neil Campbell
Rewriting Western Mythology in Contemporary Spanish Literature: Jon Bilbao’s Basilisco
David Rio
Matteo Righetto’s Soul of the Border: A “Western Novel” Italian Style
Flavia Brizio-Skov
Christine Montalbetti’s Showdown
Warren Motte

PART 3: Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand: The Literary Western at the Intersection of Local Traditions and Global Imaginings

My Heart Is in the West but I Am on the Eastern Edge: Hebrew Pulp Westerns and the Sabra Cowboy
Rachel Leket-Mor
Empty Form: Transculturating the Western
Samir Dayal
Hunter’s Drifts and Far-Off Places: South African Fiction and the Failure of the Literary Western Tradition
Zbigniew Bialas
J.M. Coetzee’s Unmooring of the Western in Waiting for the Barbarians
MaryEllen Higgins
Frontier Van Diemen’s Land: Lenny Bartulin’s Infamy
Andrew Nette
Country without Western: How a Genre Transplanted in New Zealand
Alex Calder

The collection will be of interest to scholars and students in fields such as transnational American studies, U.S. Western studies, popular literature, comparative literature, genre studies.
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