For nearly two centuries, Americans have embraced the Western like no other artistic genre. Creators and consumers alike have utilized this story form in literature, painting, film, radio and television to explore questions of national identity and purpose. Westerns: The Essential Collection comprises the Journal of Popular Film and Television’s rich and longstanding legacy of scholarship on Westerns with a new special issue devoted exclusively to the genre. This collection examines and analyzes the evolution and significance of the screen Western from its earliest beginnings to its current global reach and relevance in the 21st century.
Westerns: The Essential Collection addresses the rise, fall and durability of the genre, and examines its preoccupation with multicultural matters in its organizational structure. Containing eighteen essays published between 1972 and 2011, this seminal work is divided into six sections covering Silent Westerns, Classic Westerns, Race and Westerns, Gender and Westerns, Revisionist Westerns and Westerns in Global Context. A wide range of international contributors offer original critical perspectives on the intricate relationship between American culture and Western films and television series. Westerns: The Essential Collection places the genre squarely within the broader aesthetic, socio-historical, cultural and political dimensions of life in the United States as well as internationally, where the Western has been reinvigorated and reinvented many times. This groundbreaking anthology illustrates how Western films and television series have been used to define the present and discover the future by looking backwards at America’s imagined past.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The 'Journal of Popular Film and Television' Legacy of Western Scholarship Part I: Silent Westerns Chapter 1. The Earliest Western Films: A Checklist of Pre-1900 Prototype Western Films in the Library of Congress Paper Print Collection Chapter 2. 'The Cross-Heart People': Race and Inheritance in the Silent Westerns Chapter 3. 'Arizona Jim': The Westerns of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Part II: Classic Westerns Chapter 4. Soldiers in Stetsons: B-Westerns Go to War Chapter 5. 'Be Sure You're Right, Then Go Ahead': The Early Disney Westerns Chapter 6. 'Let's Go Home, Debbie': The Matter of Blood Pollution, Combat Culture, and Cold War Hysteria in 'The Searchers' (1956) Part III: Race and Westerns Chapter 7. Playing at Being Indian: Spectatorship and the Early Western Chapter 8. A Fate Worse Than Death: Racism, Transgression, and Westerns Chapter 9. A Politically Correct Ethan Edwards: Clint Eastwood’s 'The Outlaw Josey Wales' (1976) Part IV: Gender and Westerns Chapter 10. Howard Hughes and His Western: 'The Maverick and The Outlaw' (1943) Chapter 11. Carrying Concealed Weapons: Gendered Makeover in 'Calamity Jane' (1953) Chapter 12. Redesigning Pocahontas: Disney, the 'White Man's Indian', and the Marketing of Dreams Part V: Revisionist Westerns Chapter 13. 'McCabe and Mrs. Miller' (1971): Robert Altman’s Anti-Western Chapter 14. Blending Genres, Bending Time: Steampunk of the Western Frontier Chapter 15. 'Deadwood' (2004-2006), Generic Transformation, and Televisual History Part VI: Westerns in Global Context Chapter 16. Shouldering the Weight of the World: The Sensational and Global Appeal of John Wayne’s Body Chapter 17. 'The Man With No Name' (1968): Shane Comes Back in a Korean 'Manchurian Western' Chapter 18. Hollywood Border Cinema: Westerns with a Vengeance Selected Bibliography of Westerns on Film and Television
Gary R. Edgerton is Eminent Scholar, Professor and Chair of the Communication and Theatre Arts Department at Old Dominion University, USA. He has published nine books, more than 75 book chapters, journal articles, and encyclopedia entries on a wide assortment of media and culture topics, and has served as co-editor of the Journal of Popular Film and Television since 1998.
Michael T. Marsden is Professor of English, American Studies and Media Studies and Dean of the College and Academic Vice President Emeritus at St. Norbert College, USA. He is also Professor Emeritus of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, USA. One of the founding faculty members of the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, he has co-edited ten volumes, written scores of scholarly articles on a wide range of topics within Popular Culture Studies and American Culture Studies, and was one of the founding editors of the Journal of Popular Film and Television almost four decades ago.
For many years, the Journal of Popular Film & Television has published some of the most interesting and original western scholarship. This collection brings together some of the best of these articles and they range over the entire history of film and TV westerns as well as some of the most central critical themes such as race, gender, and the recurrent tendency to reinvent the significance of the western myth. This anthology should be valuable not only for scholars of the subject but for anyone interested in the rich and complex history of westerns in the media. - John Cawelti, Emeritus Professor of English, University of Kentucky, USA
Western films have now been produced for over 110 years and in the last 40 years the Journal of Popular Film & Television has been one of the key scholarly forums for documenting and evaluating the genre’s unique contribution to American arts and life. From silent to sound, from analogue to digital, from series westerns to prestige productions, all points are covered in this marvellous and illuminating collection from some of the foremost scholars working in the field. - Peter Stanfield, Reader in Film Studies, University of Kent, UK, author of Horse Opera (2004) and Maximum Movies – Pulp Fictions (2011)