FT 09-R Exploring the American West
What an impressive variety of literary explorations of the American West writers have created over the past hundred years. This course examines many imaginative texts that identify the cultures of the west—a fascinating mosaic that defies usual depictions of the West as cowboy and Indian country. By examining the various cultures of the West, we will come to know the “frontier” in a more complex way.
We will read a series of novels about the human experience in settling and living in the vast expanse beyond the Eastern forests, an expanse in which the land itself functions as a character playing a major role in shaping the pioneer and settler and explorer experience. The books we read and discuss will show the variety of the human reaction to the frontier and tell us about the complexity of this vast new world and about the cultures the West absorbed and cultivated—with looks at pioneering men and women, Native Americans, Hispanics, environmentalists, and independent malcontents.
“Go West young man” is a directive we all should consider. The novels we read will take us there and deepen our appreciation of this fascinating two-thirds of the country we inhabit.
Bambrey, Thomas E.