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Cowboy Classics – The Roots of the American Western in the Epic Tradition - Edinburgh Scholarship Online
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Cowboy Classics: The Roots of the American Western in the Epic Tradition

Kirsten Day


In the American cultural imagination, the Wild West is a mythic-historical place where our nation’s values and ideologies were formed. The heroes of this dangerous world, most familiar to us through film, are men of violence who fight the bad guys as they build the foundations of civilization out of wilderness, forging notions of justice, manhood, and honor in the process. In the Greco-Roman societies that are America’s cultural ancestors, epics provided similar narratives: like Western film, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid focus on the mythic-historical past and its warriors, me ... More

Keywords: Western film, Homer, Virgil, Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, John Ford, Howard Hawks, High Noon, Shane

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9781474402460
Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017 DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402460.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kirsten Day, author
Augustana College