Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

It is the description of the town and the characters that gives The Last Picture Show its reality. McMurtry captures precisely the...

(The entire section is 594 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Ideas for Group Discussions

Many young adults may find similarities to their own lives in some of the issues that face Jacy,...

(The entire section is 349 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The social concerns of The Last Picture Show are largely the concerns of teenagers in the early 1960s. Compared to the "information...

(The entire section is 453 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Busby, Mark, and Tom Pilkington. Larry McMurtry and the West: An Ambivalent Relationship. Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1995. Offers a comprehensive overview of McMurtry’s fiction, including insights on the film version of The Last Picture Show. Also includes bibliographical references and an index.

Cawelti, John G. “What Rough Beast—New Westerns?” ANQ 9 (Summer, 1996): 4-15. Cawelti addresses the revival of the Western in print, film, and on television. He notes that the new genre reflects the loss of the mythic West of the past and shows how the contemporary Western, instead of glorifying the American spirit, now criticizes America’s shortcomings. Offers a brief assessment of The Last Picture Show.

Crawford, Iain. “Intertextuality in Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show.” Journal of Popular Culture 27 (Summer, 1993): 43-52. Crawford explores what he sees as the major themes of The Last Picture Show: the popular fiction of the 1940’s; the movies, including Westerns; and the mainstream literature and television of the 1950’s. He particularly focuses on the common theme of the consequences of living in the moral vacuum of contemporary society.

Jones, Roger Walton. Larry McMurtry and the Victorian Novel. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1994. Jones explores McMurtry’s lifelong love of Victorian authors and explores three Victorian themes that are prominent in all of McMurtry’s fiction: the individual’s importance in society, the conflict between society and nature, and the search for a coherent spirituality in an age that does not believe in God. He particularly focuses on The Last Picture Show.

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

While J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye (1951; see separate entry) is a literary precursor to The Last Picture Show—both...

(The entire section is 144 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The Last Picture Show is one of the "Thalia novels," the first two of which are Horseman, Pass By (1961) and Leaving...

(The entire section is 179 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The Last Picture Show was made into a 1971 Peter Bogdanovich feature film starring Cybill Shepherd as Jacy; Cloris Leachman as Ruth...

(The entire section is 176 words.)