|Back to Marlboro home|
At the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner announced that the western "frontier" was now officially closed -- and with it closed, according to Turner, the essentially American project of reinvention that the West made possible. In this class, we will examine Turner's thesis (and some more recent responses and revisions to it) in the light of various cultural representations of the American West, including works by Owen Wister, Leslie Marmon Silko, Wallace Stegner, Cormac McCarthy, Norman Maclean, Marilynne Robinson...and, yes, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Our goal will be to develop an understanding of what the West represents, both for easterners and for westerners, and to delve into the role the imagined West has played in shaping American thought and culture. And, as in any writing seminar, we will write about all of it: expect at least three major papers, culminating in a research paper, and weekly shorter writing assignments. Discussions of the text will alternate with work on writing: conferences, writing workshops and discussions of style and structure.