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Having It Both Ways: Self-Subversion in Western Popular Classics

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Pages: 158

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:Unknown - Univ of New Mexico Pr

By: Forrest G. Robinson

What accounts for the popularity of novels that American readers return to time and again? In this important study, now available in paperback, Robinson argues that these texts both celebrate and betray our ideals regarding race, slavery, and gender relations. In discussions of classic novels such as Riders of the Purple Sage, The Last of the Mohicans, The Virginian, The Sea-Wolf, and Shane he illustrates how authors' and readers' attempts to have it both ways compel them to return repeatedly to stories that deal with major cultural embarrassments. Robinson disputes the belief that works of popular culture avoid contested issues or raise them briefly in order to manage them. In his view these popular works betray a greater critical and social awareness than is usually recognized, but they then subvert or deny that knowledge. Robinson's theoretical postscript places his discussion of this pattern of recognition and denial in the context of debates on literary theory and popular culture, making the book invaluable to all students of Western literature.  


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