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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

McComb lives at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and teaches at Col-
orado State University, but his love for the Texas island city that he has
studied off and on for over a decade is evident throughout this work. Those
who share a certain affection for Galveston, and there are many thousands
of us, welcome McComb's insightful and readable book.
Clayton State College BRADLEY R. RICE
Morrow, Georgia
Texas Myths. Edited by Robert F. O'Connor. (College Station, Tex.:
Texas A&M University Press for the Texas Committee for the
Humanities, 1986. Pp. x + 248. Preface, tables, notes, epilogue, in-
dex. $17.95.)
These fourteen essays witness to editor Robert F. O'Connor's open-
ing statement that "Texans love to tell the story of our state from all sorts
of perspectives" (vii). The writers ask how and where, even why, the
distinction between myth and history blurs, if not collapses-according to
O'Connor-in Texas studies. Not only historians and folklorists, but also
literature, film, and art critics will value Texas Myths for its new pantheon
of stereotypes, for questions answered, and even more for questions raised.
Louise Cowan's "Myth in the Western World" nimbly overviews rela-
tions between myth, legend, archetype, literature, psychology, and history.
Her observations on the migration and transmutation of myth unify the
rest of the book. Does the Texas myth descend from classical Europe,
Puritan New England, the wilderness, southern courtesy, and belief in
progress (pp. 19 - 20)? Are Texans descendants or a new breed, "cultivated
or primitive," "pious or iconoclastic," "isolated or communal" (p. 20)?
Then Richard Bauman examines transmission of origin, journey, and
struggle narratives, as well as the influence of physical and social en-
vironments in Texas story-telling.
In the second section, "Clash of Cultures," William W. Newcomb's
"Harmony with Nature, People, and the Supernatural" explains native
American belief systems. In "Race and Democracy," Juan A. Ortega
y Medina questions how ethnic and religious heritages produce explicit
and implicit codes for understanding and behaving. Sterling Stuckey's
"Afro-American Formative Myths" probes sources of black culture and
explains discordant mappings between slaves and masters, concluding that
despite differences, southern myth for both blacks and whites today is
a kind of identification with the dead (pp. 100 - 101).
The last section of Texas Myths includes essays on topophilia, gender,
family, power and wealth, individualism, change, particularism, and con-


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed October 8, 2015.