The triumph of tradition in six novels of Elmer Kelton, 1971-1998



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Texas Tech University


In "Reperceiving Ethnicity in Western American Literature," Robert F. Gish classifies Elmer Kelton as "among the much revered and canonized Western novelists" (38). Western American novelists have traditionally glorified and romanticized the settlement of the American West, and the majority of their so-called heroes were Anglo-Americans who, in their efforts to feed and clothe their families, pushed ever westward onto the frontier, driving out those who had inhabited the West for centuries. Some traditional Western writers justified this conquest of the West by saying that Native-Americans initially gained their lands by violently taking them from other Natives, so that Anglo settlement was just a continuance of the past. Some felt no justification was necessary; the land was there for the taking. In this Triumphalist view, Anglo-American advancement was a God-given right called Manifest Destiny.



Kelton, Elmer -- Criticism and interpretation, Novelists, American -- Texas, Frontier and pioneer life in literature, Western stories -- History and criticism, Western stories -- Authorship