Chapter 24. Wests, Westerns, Westerners

  1. Paul Lauter president
  1. Martha Viehmann PhD

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch24

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

How to Cite

Viehmann, M. (2010) Wests, Westerns, Westerners, in A Companion to American Literature and Culture (ed P. Lauter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch24

Editor Information

  1. Trinity College (Hartford), UK

Author Information

  1. Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 26 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631208921

Online ISBN: 9781444320626



  • Wests, Westerns, Westerners;
  • images of American West and western Americans, Indian and white - come to us through simplifications of pop culture;
  • the West and the nation in literary history;
  • Frederick Jackson Turner's 1893 - “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”;
  • significance of the West or of the frontier in US culture - drawing directly or indirectly on Turner's work;
  • defining Western Literature - Western Literature Association publishing in its journal, Western American Literature;
  • John Cawelti's The Six-Gun Mystique - making the emerging field of popular culture studies respectable;
  • Cawelti's book, significant attention to literary criticism and critical approaches to the Western;
  • locating ethnic literatures in the West;
  • contemporary Native American authors - Momaday's Way to Rainy Mountain and Silko's Storyteller (1981)


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The West and the Nation in Literary History

  • Defining Western Literature

  • Locating Ethnic Literatures in the West

  • Contemporary Native American Literature and Criticism

  • References and Further Reading