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Guide to Life and Literature
of the Southwest

General Helps

THERE IS no chart to the Life and Literature of the Southwest. An attempt to put it all into an alphabetically arranged encyclopedia would be futile. All guides to knowledge are too long or too short. This one at the outset adds to its length -- perhaps to its usefulness -- by citing other general reference works and a few anthologies.

Books of the Southwest: A General Bibliography, by Mary Tucker, published by J. J. Augustin, New York, 1937, is better on Indians and the Spanish period than on Anglo-American culture. Southwest Heritage: A Literary History with Bibliography, by Mabel Major, Rebecca W. Smith, and T. M. Pearce, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1938, revised 1948, takes up the written material under the time-established heads of Fiction, Poetry, Drama, etc., with due respect to chronological development. A Treasury of Southern Folklore, 1949, and A Treasury of Western Folklore, 1951, both edited by B. A. Botkin and both published by Crown, New York, are so liberal in the extensions of folklore and so voluminous that they amount to literary anthologies.

Of possible use in working out certain phases of life and literature common to the Southwest as well as to the West and Middle West are the following academic treatises: The Frontier in American Literature, by Lucy Lockwood Hazard, New York, 1927; The Literature of the Middle Western Frontier, by Ralph Leslie Rusk, New York, 1925; The Prairie and the Making of Middle America, by Dorothy Anne Dondore, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1926; The Literature of the Rocky Mountain West 1803-1903, by L. J. Davidson and P. Bostwick, Caldwell, Idaho, 1939; and The Rediscovery of the Frontier, by Percy H. Boynton, Chicago, 1931. Anyone interested in vitality in any phase of American writing will find Vernon L. Parrington's Main Currents in American Thought (three vols.), New York, 1927-39, an opener-up of avenues.

Perhaps the best anthology of southwestern narratives is Golden Tales of the Southwest, selected by Mary L. Becker, New York, 1939. Two anthologies of southwestern writings are Southwesterners Write, edited by T. M. Pearce and A. P. Thomason, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1946, and Roundup Time, edited by George Sessions Perry, Whittlesey House, New York, 1943. Themes common to the Southwest are represented in Western Prose and Poetry, an anthology put together by Rufus A. Coleman, New York, 1932, and in Mid Country: Writings from the Heart of America, edited by Lowry C. Wimberly, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1945.

For the southern tradition that has flowed into the Southwest Franklin J. Meine's Tall Tales of the Southwest, New York, 1930, OP, is the best anthology published. It is the best anthology of any kind that I know of. A Southern Treasury of Life and Literature, selected by Stark Young, New York, 1937, brings in Texas.

Anthologies of poetry are listed under the heading of "Poetry and Drama." The outstanding state bibliography of the region is A Bibliography of Texas, by C. W. Raines, Austin, 1896. Since this is half a century behind the times, its usefulness is limited. At that, it is more useful than the shiftless, hit-and-miss, ignorance-revealing South of Forty: From the Mississippi to the Rio Grande: A Bibliography, by Jesse L. Rader, Norman, Oklahoma, 1947. Henry R. Wagner's The Plains and the Rockies, "a contribution to the bibliography of original narratives of travel and adventure, 1800-1865," which came out 1920-21, was revised and extended by Charles L. Camp and reprinted in 1937. It is stronger on overland travel than on anything else, only in part covers the Southwest, and excludes a greater length of time than Raines's Bibliography. Now published by Long's College Book Co., Columbus, Ohio.

Mary G. Boyer's Arizona in Literature, Glendale, California, 1934, is an anthology that runs toward six hundred pages. Texas Prose Writings, by Sister M. Agatha, Dallas, 1936, OP, is a meaty, critical survey. L. W. Payne's handbook-sized A Survey of Texas Literature, Chicago, 1928, is complemented by a chapter entitled "Literature and Art in Texas" by J. Frank Dobie in The Book of Texas, New York, 1929. OP.

A Guide to Materials Bearing on Cultural Relations in New Mexico, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1944, is so logical and liberal-minded that in some respects it amounts to a bibliography of the whole Southwest; it recognizes the overriding of political boundaries by ideas, human types, and other forms of culture. The New Mexico Quarterly, published by the University of New Mexico, furnishes periodically a bibliographical record of contemporary literature of the Southwest. New Mexico's Own Chronicle, edited by Maurice G. Fulton and Paul Horgan (Dallas, 1937, OP), is an anthology strong on the historical side.

In the lists that follow, the symbol OP indicates that the book is out of print. Many old books obviously out of print are not so tagged.

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