Literature of the American Cowboy Criticism: Overview - Essay

Criticism: Overview

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Cowboy Hero: An American Myth Examined,” in The American Cowboy, by Lonn Taylor and Ingrid Maar, Harper and Row, 1983, pp. 63‐79.

[In the following essay, Taylor examines the rise of the traditional cowboy persona over the course of the nineteenth century, focusing on the evolving depictions of the cowboy in popular culture. Taylor theorizes that America's perception of itself can be traced through the years by examining the changing image of the cowboy.]

During the middle years of the nineteenth century—the four decades divided by the Civil War—a series of changes took place that profoundly altered the fabric of everyday life in America and,...

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