The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Book Reviews

chapters discuss Anglos, the next four analyze Chicana and American
Indian artists. Only in Elizabeth Duvert's final chapter is a more inter-
cultural approach attempted. The conclusion offers a more general
comparison and contrast. One wonders, too, about how the inclusion of
black women, who were neither original inhabitants nor members of a
dominating new culture, but whose special history is bound to the land,
might have sweetened this already fruitful mix.
The most important contribution this collection makes is to the grow-
ing field of gender studies. The editors have asked how the difference
between women's and men's experience with the land has been made
visible in art. Vera Norwood's rich examination of frontier sources for
southwestern women's literature suggests that, in Anglo women at
least, the open, resistant southwestern landscape engendered concepts
of exploration and settlement that were quite different from men's.
The book also declares, as its title implies, that mythic images of the
land as woman, images that have long obscured experience, are being
rewritten.
Walter P. Webb believed women were repulsed by the plains. "If we
could get at the truth," he wrote, "we should doubtless find that many a
family was stopped on the edge of the timber by women who refused
to go farther" (The Great Plains, 505). To the contrary, as this book
shows, many women's response to the land has been to respect it, em-
brace it, and to create themselves there.
Texas State Historical Association NANCY BAKER JONES
A Literary History of the American West. Sponsored by the Western Litera-
ture Association. (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press,
1987. Pp. xliii+ 1,353. Acknowledgments, preface, chronology, in-
troductions, illustrations, notes, selected bibliography, epilogue,
index. $79.50.)
A Literary History of the American West is a project of the Western
Literature Association and has been more than fifteen years in the
making. J. Golden Taylor, one of the founders of WLA and its journal,
Western American Literature, and the first general editor of this volume,
did not live to see the work completed. He was succeeded by Thomas J.
Lyon, who, with section editors George F. Day, Gerald W. Haslam,
James H. Maguire, and William T. Pilkington, brought this monu-
mental project to completion.
The project was monumental in the metaphorical sense, the book in
the literal sense. The labors of the editors and their seventy contributors
have resulted in one of the monuments of American literary scholar-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed December 18, 2014.