The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 124
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
"holy," including Dobie's A Vaquero of the Brush Country, and Webb's The Great
Plans (1930), because even Oregonians have read the latter since Webb admits
he wrote it by borrowing a few ideas from midwestern writer Emerson Hough.
Then I met Ben Capps, William Goyen, John Graves, A. C. Greene, Leon Hale,
William Humphrey, Elmer Kelton, Larry McMurtry, Carolyn Osborn, William
Owens, and a number of other Texas writers, living and dead, and the course
content took a drastic change. But I soon found that critical studies of the works
of these writers were difficult to locate. Thus, students of the Literature of the
Southwest will find Takzng Stock a useful guide to the study of McMurtry's work.
The organization of the book is helpful in that it follows the author's publica-
tions chronologically, thus aiding in an evaluation of McMurtry's creative
growth. The six divisions include: "Doing Without, The Thalia Trilogy"; "Mov-
ing On, The Houston Trilogy"; "Leaving Texas, The Trash Trilogy"; "Coming
Home, Fear and Loathing in Texasville"; "Filming McMurtry, The Regionalist
Imperative"; and "Summing Up, Thalia and the Real Texans." The essays
under each division are succinct but nevertheless thorough in their assessment.
Most of McMurtry's essays may be found in two volumes: In a Narrow Grave:
Essays on Texas (1968), and Fzlm Flam: Essays on Hollywood (1987). Like James
Ward Lee, I find In a Narrow Grave does have some weaknesses, but two of the
essays seem outstanding: "Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction" and
"Southwestern Literature." The book has a splendid comprehensive bibliogra-
phy compiled by Charles Williams, a work of two years. An index would be
helpful, but for this kind of casebook it would have been tedious to compile.
If some of the essays repeat the same information, I cannot fault the whole
casebook on those points because there are not enough critical accounts of the
work of the southwestern and western writers. Undergraduate libraries in par-
ticular will want this book, and where there are graduate seminars in the lihtera-
ture of" the southwest the casebook will be essential. McMurtry is a leading
Texas author, and he has not yet hung his saddle on the wall!
East Texas State University DI)ORYS CROw GROVER
Far From Home: Familzes of the Westward Jouney. By Lillian Schlissel, Byrd Gib-
bens, and Elizabeth Hampsten. Foreword by Robert Cole. (New York:
Schocken Books, 1989. Pp. xviii+264. Foreword, acknowledgments, intro-
duction, photographs, notes, index. $19.95.)
Growing Up with the Country: Childhood on the Far Western Frontier By Elliott West.
Foreword by Howard R. Lamar, Martin Ridge, and David J. Weber. (Albu-
querque: University of New Mexico Press, 1989. Pp. xxiv+343. Foreword,
illustrations, preface, notes, bibliography, index. $32.50, cloth; $16.95,
Both these books represent a new and stimulating line ot scholarship tocus-
ing on the frontier family and its members. West's study is particularly satisfy-
ing in its generational treatment.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/m1/152/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.