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Discourses of Frontier Violence and the Trauma of National Emergence: Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove Quartet

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Published in Canadian Review of American Studies. 2009, vol. 39, no. 2, p. 185-204
Abstract In McMurtry’s fiction and in westerns as a genre, the rhetoric of American exceptionalism, of America’s special destiny in the world, serves to mythologize frontier violence and the trauma experienced by the victims of this physical, sexual and psychological violence, in order to sustain a conservative racial politics. McMurtry’s westerns present us with a late twentieth-century repetition of the rewriting of traumatic frontier stories in order to reinforce inherited concepts of American and non-American identities. These narratives continue to preserve the image of the frontier as a contact zone where a primitive multiculturalism gave rise to pathological mixed-blood individuals who, neither Mexican, Native, nor Anglo, are doomed to inhabit a liminal space that is nowhere and everywhere.
Keywords Larry McMurtryWesternsCaptivity narrativesAmerican LiteratureAmerican frontierAmerican exceptionalismUS nationalismRaceTraumaViolenceGender
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MADSEN, Deborah Lea. Discourses of Frontier Violence and the Trauma of National Emergence: Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove Quartet. In: Canadian Review of American Studies, 2009, vol. 39, n° 2, p. 185-204. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:87890

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Deposited on : 2016-10-03

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