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Myth of the WesternNew Perspectives on Hollywood's Frontier Narrative$
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Matthew Carter

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748685585

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748685585.001.0001

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(p.219) Conclusion
Myth of the Western

Matthew Carter

Edinburgh University Press

The Conclusion summarises the book's central argument that the Western cannot simply be described as heroic, redemptive or honourable. Furthermore, as often as it celebrated the myth of the West, it also betrayed the more inglorious, atavistic and disturbing elements of frontier settlement and of national identity. Such ambiguities often merged into the forms and themes of the same film-text, helping to create a genre composed of varied narratives that reflect not only different times, but also different attitudes existing within any given time. It argued, therefore, that the formal and thematic impact of the Western does not so much come from the themes of the myth of the West, but from the complexities by which the genre deals with those themes. Above all else it sought to repudiate the belief in a pattern of consistent development within the genre as defined within terms of popular evolution theories that categorise groups of film-texts rather bluntly in classical, revisionist or post phases. Overall, this book has argued that whilst the Western genre metamorphoses according to the exigencies of a given time and the visions of individual artists, as a whole, it has refused any defined pattern of continuous development.

Keywords:   Myth of the West, National Identity, Genre Evolution, Classical Western, Revisionist Western, Post-Western

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