Non-Fiction Books:

Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture: Series Number 132



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Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture: Series Number 132 by William R Handley

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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 recent scholarship provides a narrative of western history that counters the 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 against whom the nation had defined itself in the nineteenth century, such as Indians and Mormon polygamists, no longer threaten its homes. Handley explains that once its enemies are gone, imperialism brings violence home in retrospective narratives that allegorize national pasts and futures through intimate relationships.

Author Biography

William R. Handley is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Southern California. His articles have appeared in Arizona Quarterly, Contemporary Literature and Twentieth Century Literature.
Release date NZ
August 15th, 2002
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
6 Halftones, unspecified
Cambridge University Press
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