Scientific article
Open access

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

Published inCanadian review of American studies, vol. 39, no. 2, p. 185-204
Publication date2009

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.

  • Larry McMurtry
  • Westerns
  • Captivity narratives
  • American Literature
  • American frontier
  • American exceptionalism
  • US nationalism
  • Race
  • Trauma
  • Violence
  • Gender
Citation (ISO format)
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.
Main files (1)
Article (Accepted version)
  • PID : unige:87890
ISSN of the journal0007-7720

Technical informations

Creation09/20/2016 2:29:00 PM
First validation09/20/2016 2:29:00 PM
Update time03/15/2023 12:47:21 AM
Status update03/15/2023 12:47:21 AM
Last indexation10/19/2023 2:07:09 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack