Writing the west: critical approaches to Shane

Griffin, R. ORCID: 0000-0001-5821-7155, 2007. Writing the west: critical approaches to Shane. Literature Compass, 4 (1), pp. 24-47. ISSN 1741-4113

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Representations of the American West have perhaps resonated most strongly in the western film genre, yet at the same time, the literary Western is a highly developed and sophisticated genre in its own right. Meanwhile, critical approaches to the West have become increasingly wide-ranging, spanning historical/literary studies; film/cultural studies; genre; gender studies; philosophy, structuralism and, most recently, post-modernism. In light of such critical diversity, this article places a literary text alongside a Western film in order to illustrate and demonstrate potential critical approaches to the western. To this end it takes Jack Schaefer’s novel Shane1 as its case study with two main organising principles in mind. Firstly, analysis of the text demonstrates the ways in which critical methods and theoretical debates can be applied to the literary Western. As a result, I assess, for example, the convention which applies historical co-ordinates to fictional representations, as well as the challenges posed by alternative modes of critique. Secondly, the novel is placed alongside the filmic adaptation2 in order to demonstrate the fluid nature of western forms and the critical approaches which can be used to analyse them. Finally, I offer my own perspective, suggesting that the methodologies and textual forms explored in the article signal the need for transdisciplinary critical approaches which reflect both the simplicity and the diversity of the western as a whole.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Literature Compass
Creators: Griffin, R.
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Place of Publication: Oxford
Date: 2007
Volume: 4
Number: 1
ISSN: 1741-4113
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 11:07
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:49
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23024

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