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Description - Marriage, Violence and the Nation in the American Literary West by William R. Handley

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

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521093422
ISBN-10: 0521093422
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 16mm)
Pages: 276
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 11-Jan-2009
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - William R. Handley

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.

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