Call for Papers Edited Volume Abstracts due 11/15/16
Classics and the Western — an edited collection
In 1820, a writer for the Cincinnati Western Review warned his readers that “should the time ever come when Latin and Greek should be banished from our universities and the study of Cicero and Demosthenes, of Homer and Virgil should be considered as unnecessary for the formation of a scholar, we should regard mankind as fast sinking into an absolute barbarism, and the gloom of mental darkness is likely to increase until it should become universal.” Almost two hundred years later, Americans are no longer required to learn Greek and Latin, but their necessary connection to antiquity continues—in film and television Westerns. John Ford, Raoul Walsh, Howard Hawkes, Budd Boetticher, Anthony Mann, and Sam Peckinpah (to name only a few Western film directors), all have borrowed from the Greats to invent, reinvent, and often reinterpret the American experience on the frontier. The popular Western owes much of its impact to the power of “high” art—classical epic, tragic and comic forms which have celebrated, affirmed, and deconstructed the American Character in the Wild West for over a century, transmitting a complicated cultural coding about the nature of westward expansionism, heroism, family life, assimilation and settlement, and American masculinity and femininity.
I’m currently soliciting abstracts of 200 words for essays that consider the richness and complexity of the Western’s association with the Greats and foreground the contributions that such intersections and fusions have made to our understanding of America’s epic (and tragic) narratives of nation and cultural identity. How have Westerns drawn on, transmitted, furthered, and critiqued the ideas of classical authors like Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Cicero, and Virgil?
Proposals may examine any aspect of the Western’s relationship with classical thinking and texts, including but not limited to those authors named above. Proposals may also address the genre-at-large; particular periods, cycles or series; the work of individual filmmakers, actors or other personnel; or any combination thereof.
Completed essays of approximately 5000 words in length will be due in September of 2017. This book is under contract with McFarland Press.
Proposals are due by November 15, 2016. Please get in touch with me if you have any questions.
Sue Matheson, PhD
University College of the North