The New Western: Critical Essays on the Genre Since 9/11

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Scott F. Stoddart
McFarland, Feb 19, 2016 - Performing Arts - 268 pages
American moviegoers have long turned to the Hollywood Western for reassurance in times of crisis. During the genre’s heyday, the films of John Ford, Howard Hawks and Henry Hathaway reflected a grand patriotism that resonated with audiences at the end of World War II. The tried-and-true Western was questioned by Ford and George Stevens during the Cold War, and in the 1960s directors like Sam Peckinpah and George Roy Hill retooled the genre as a commentary on American ethics during the Vietnam War. Between the mid–1970s and early 1990s, the Western faded from view—until the Gulf War, when Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves (1990) and Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven (1992) brought it back, with moral complexities. Since 9/11, the Western has seen a resurgence, blending its patriotic narrative with criticism of America’s place in the global community. Exploring such films as True Grit (2010) and Brokeback Mountain (2005), along with television series like Deadwood and Firefly, this collection of new essays explores how the Western today captures the dichotomy of our times and remains important to the American psyche.

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Part I Familiar Landscapes
Part II New Westerns in Dialogue
Part III New Frontiers
Part IV New Visions
Christopher Nolans Batman Trilogy and the New Western Scott F Stoddart
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About the author (2016)

Scott F. Stoddart is the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. He has written about culture, literature and the arts on such topics as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stephen Sondheim and the Coen brothers. He is a host of the Sundance television series Love/Lust and a contributor to the PBS series American Icons.

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