Book released by ACU scholar-in-residence

Posted December 03, 2013

Dr. Paul Varner, scholar-in-residence in the Department of Language and Literature, is the editor of a new book, “New Wests and Post-Wests: Literature and Film of the American West.” Alumnus Todd Womble ('10) contributed a chapter to the book.

In this collection, numerous writers interpret a variety of ideas about the American West in film and literature. The writers provide international perspectives from several countries, including the United Kingdom, Tunisia, Austria and Italy.

Below is an excerpt from the book jacket cover:

"The writers of these chapters are often working with changing assumptions about literary and media interpretations of an American West. Here we see critical approaches to a West that never was, a West of myth so enduring that the myth dominates nearly all artistic representation about this place that never was. In this collection, we see critical approaches to a New West, a West that is a state of mind, not a geographical place but a mythic space with no boundaries and no political inevitabilities. These New Western studies accept the idea of a West that includes Canada, Mexico, Alaska, and, in the case of the U.S., every geographic and historical point west of the historic founding settlements. The West we study today is a post-West, an idea of the West past the traditional views of an old West dominated by white U.S. nationalism and gendered as uncompromisingly masculine. The idea itself of a single West no longer holds validity. We now understand that all renderings of the West are renderings of multiple Wests; Wests constructed by American nationalists, Wests constructed by Euro-American writers and filmmakers, Wests constructed by native peoples, or Wests constructed outside the geographical boundaries of the U.S."

Varner has published four other books in his six years at ACU.

Learn more about the Department of Language and Literature


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