Classic Wild West Literature

Posted by Mark Rees on

The Wild West has not only inspired beautiful pieces of art but literature as well. It is a fun genre, with various topics pertaining to the Wild West. Some of those topics include adventure, cowboys, outlaws, and a lot more. Starting in the 19th Century, Western novels romanticized American history and dramatized the tensions in the West. There have been many novels about the Wild West, with many fun stories that people love to tell. One of the most ground-breaking literary Western novels is The Virginian by Owen Wister. 

The Virginian a Classic Western Novel

This novel was published in 1902 and it is one of the most influential novels within the Western genre. Wister’s inspiration for this novel came from spending the summer of 1885 on a ranch in Wyoming. The romance and ruggedness he experienced gave him a new spirit that would eventually lead him to turn the traditional, American cowboy into a legendary hero. His novel established many of the cowboy myths we are familiar with. It talks about the life as a ranch hand and his day to day life at Sunk Creek Ranch. The Virginian is a tall, lean and honorable man, with a sense of humor and fondness for an occasional fight.

The Virginian was a success and, by 1938, sold more than 1.5 million copies. It was the first serious Western novel and it touched on so many elements of the West. This particular novel paved the way for other popular Western authors like Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour. The natural beauty of the land and the effects it has on someone inspires some of the greatest pieces of work.

A Western Success

The Western genre may not be as popular today but the stories will never fade. The Wild West has inspired so many authors to write about their experiences or create stories that revolve around the mystery and adventure of the West. Owen Winster became the great novelist of the American West, paving the way for more Western authors to tell their stories. With so many different subjects of the West to talk about, there is a never-ending list of people, places, or events to write about. 


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