Westerns: Making the Man in Fiction and Film

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University of Chicago Press, Nov 15, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 331 pages
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Ranging from the novels of James Fenimore Cooper to Louis L'Amour, and from classic films like Stagecoach to spaghetti Westerns like A Fistful of Dollars, Mitchell shows how Westerns helped assuage a series of crises in American culture. This landmark study shows that the Western owes its perennial appeal not to unchanging conventions but to the deftness with which it responds to the obsessions and fears of its audience. And no obsession, Lee Mitchell argues, has figured more prominently in the Western than what it means to be a man.

"Elegantly written. . . . provocative . . . characterized by [Mitchell's] own tendency to shoot from the hip."—J. Hoberman, London Review of Books

"[Mitchell's] book would be worth reading just for the way he relates Benjamin Spock's Baby and Child to the postwar Western."—The Observer

"Integrating a careful handling of historical context with a keen eye for textual nuances, Mitchell reconstructs the Western's aesthetic tradition of the 19th century."—Aaron M. Wehner, San Francisco Review

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Westerns: making the man in fiction and film

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Though both these books are on the Western in film and fiction, they differ sharply in their approach. Mitchell's work has two basic premises. First, he argues that overwhelmingly popular pieces ... Read full review


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Page 311 - There is a sensible way of treating children. Treat them as though they were young adults. Dress them, bathe them with care and circumspection. Let your behavior always be objective and kindly firm. Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit in your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say good night. Shake hands with them in the morning.

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About the author (1996)

Lee Clark Mitchell is Holmes Professor of Belles-Lettres and Chair of the Department of English at Princeton University.

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