Even so redoubtable a Populist and defender of western expansion as the 19th century Sen. Thomas Hart Benton agreed that "the western limits of the Republic should be drawn, and the statue of the fabled god Terminus should be raised upon its highest peak, never to be thrown down.
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Frederick Jackson Turner argued just over a hundred years ago that the story of America should be read left to right, west to east, in order to appreciate "the forces dominating American character. If the six-gun cowboy potboiler no longer sparks the imagination of the immigrant factory worker in the grim industrial cities of the crowded East, the tales collected in "The Morrow Anthology of Great Western Short Stories" nevertheless remind us, as cultural history--even if we are loath to concede the heresy--that the dime novels of Dodge City define some of the more enduring of America's stereotypes, as authentically as the pamphlets of Sam Adams' Boston.
But the western as a literary form left us with another legacy. No other region of the nation produced a comparable genre of formulaic, relentlessly aggrandizing whitewash--and it has stigmatized all subsequent writers from and those writing about this part of the country.
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To say one is a "western writer," or that this is a "western story," is to automatically raise a doubt as to its long-term merit as literature. Thus, we encounter, between the same covers, Czeslaw Milosz on Robinson Jeffers, e.
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Modern Library's one-volume reissue of Theodore Roosevelt's "Hunting Trips of a Ranchman" and his "The Wilderness Hunter," is a welcome addition, if only for the historical insight it provides. Rugged country, cattle ranches and western boom towns are scattered throughout the pages of this site.
You'll find it all within the confines of traditional western short stories. Western authors of the highest caliber recognize Rope and Wire as an exceptional outlet and a tool they can use toward the building of their authors platform. By using this site they can easily promote themselves, strengthen their brand and market their books.
This is all good news for those who love to read traditional westerns. Because all the authors here want to make a good impression. That's why you'll find some of the best western short stories right here on Rope and Wire. All you need to do to transport yourself to the old west is click on one of the images at the top of the page. When pulp magazines exploded in popularity in the s, Western fiction greatly benefited as did the author Max Brand , who excelled at the western short story. The genre peaked around the early s, largely due to the tremendous number of Westerns on television.
10 Great Westerns You've Never Read
The burnout of the American public on television Westerns in the late s seemed to have an effect on the literature as well, and interest in Western literature began to wane. Western novels, films and pulps gave birth to Western comics , which were very popular, particularly from the late s until circa , when the comics began to turn to reprints. This can particularly be seen at Marvel Comics , where Westerns began circa and thrived until , when one of their flagship titles, Kid Colt Outlaw — , ceased to have new stories and entered the reprint phase.
Fawcett Comics published a number of Western titles, including Hopalong Cassidy from to They also published comics starring actors known for their Western roles, including Tom Mix Western — and Gabby Hayes Western — The popular Western comic strip Red Ryder was syndicated in hundreds of American newspapers from to In the s, the work of Louis L'Amour began to catch hold of most western readers and he has tended to dominate the western reader lists ever since. Gilman also maintained a cult following for several years in the s and s.
Specifically, McMurtry's Lonesome Dove and McCarthy's Blood Meridian both published in are recognized as major masterpieces both within and beyond the genre.
10 Great Westerns You've Never Read
Western readership as a whole began to drop off in the mid- to late s. Readership of western fiction reached a new low in the first decade of the twenty-first century, and most bookstores, outside a few western states, only carry a small number of Western fiction books. The genre has seen the rumblings of a revival, and saw the publication of an all-Western short story magazine Great Western Fiction which was published by Dry River Publishing in Colorado.
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Nevertheless, the magazine was short-lived and folded after only two issues. The organization was founded in to promote the literature of the American West.
While the founding members were mostly western fiction writers, the organization began getting a number of other members from other backgrounds such as historians, regional history buffs, and writers from other genres. Western Fictioneers, founded in , is a professional writers' group that encourages and promotes the traditional Westerns.
It is the only professional writers' organization composed entirely of authors who have written Western fiction.