The Philosophy of the Western

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Jennifer L. McMahon, B. Steve Csaki
University Press of Kentucky, May 28, 2010 - Performing Arts - 352 pages
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Essays about how stories of the Old West reflect—and affect—our beliefs and values.

The solitude of the lone rider, the loyalty of his horse, and the unspoken code of the West—for many, Western movies embody America and its values, though the view of the country’s history they present isn’t always accurate. In recent years, scholars had declared the genre dead, but a steady resurgence of western themes in literature, film, and television has reestablished its importance and influence.

In The Philosophy of the Western, editors Jennifer L. McMahon and B. Steve Csaki examine philosophical themes in the western genre. Investigating subjects of nature, ethics, identity, gender, environmentalism, and animal rights, the essays in this volume draw from a wide range of westerns including the more recent popular and critical successes Unforgiven, All the Pretty Horses, 3:10 to Yuma, and No Country for Old Men, as well as literature and television serials such as Deadwood. The Philosophy of the Western reveals the powerful role of the western in the American psyche.


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Philosophy and the Western
Loneliness and Solitude
The SelfSufficient Western Hero
Mommas Dont Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Pragmatists
Locke Liberalism and Western Masculinity
Male Love and Anxiety on
Deadwood and the State of Nature
The Magnificent Seven East and West
Ethical Consequences in High Noon and
Back Off to What? The Search for Meaning in The Wild Bunch
The Decline of Ethics and the Western
McCabe and Mrs Miller
Native Americans and the Western
The View from the Other
Go West Young Woman Hegels Dialectic and Womens Identities
The Elevation and Degradation of Horses

The Currency of Clint Eastwoods Westerns
Kantian Ethics in High Noon

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About the author (2010)

Jennifer L. McMahon, associate professor and chair of the English and Languages Department at East Central University, is a contributor to The Philosophy of TV Noir, The Philosophy of Martin Scorsese, and The Simpsons and Philosophy. She lives in Stratford, Oklahoma. B. Steve Csaki was most recently a visiting professor at Centre College, where he taughtcourses in philosophy, the humanities, and Japanese. He lives in Stratford, Oklahoma.

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