Who Is Owen Wister's The Virginian?

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Owen Wister’s The Virginian (1902) As noted in chapter 4, the 1890 closing of the frontier represented the end of an era in American history, resulting in a “yearning for a golden age in less complex, more harmonious times.” (Kammen, 294) This yearning was also reflected in literature and the rise in popularity of the Western literary genre was according to William Bloodworth a “response by both authors and readers to the closing of the frontier and opening of a new urban environment.” (45) Despite changing social and cultural conditions, the Western literary genre allowed readers and writers to “turn, in imagination, to the American West” (Bloodworth, 48) and the values the West was associated with. Owen Wister’s The Virginian from 1902 is a good example of how the Western literary genre responded to this social and cultural desire for a ‘simpler’ time that the West had come to represent.

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