English 176

Upper Division Coursework: "Literature and Popular Culture: The Western in Fiction and Film

Hutson, Richard "

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2005 Seminars MWF 2-3. in 120 Latimer, plus film screenings Wednesdays 5-8 P.M. in 105 North Gate
120 Latimer

Other Readings and Media

"Abbott, E.C.: We Pointed Them North; Adams, Andy: The Log of a Cowboy; Bower, B.M.: Flying U Ranch; Cooper, J. F.: The Last of the Mohicans; Garrett, P.: The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid; Grey, Z.: Riders of the Purple Sage; Roosevelt, T.: Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail; Stewart, E. P.: Letters of a Woman Homesteader; Wister, O.: The Virginian

Films will include ""My Darling Clementine,"" ""Shane,"" ""High Noon,"" ""Hell's Hinges,"" ""The Virginian"" (1929), ""The Searchers,"" and others. "


In this course, I plan to get us all thinking about the popular genre of the Western and its cultural background. The films each week are an important and integral part of the course, and the films are required viewing. It is in the films that we see the clearest examples of the genre referred to as the Western, but the books provide a very general cultural discourse that gets crystallized in the films. Westerns have always seemed to be the clearest forms of an institutionalized narrative that gets called, eventually, a genre. The signs of genre tend to be clear: men in ten-gallon hats, six-shooters openly hanging from their belts, horses (often cows), in Western landscapes. The more interesting issues are: what is the meaning of these narratives for a culture? Are they simply entertaining, and if so, why? Or do they strive to offer commentaries on the culture of the time of their production?

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