Joel Deshaye at Memorial University in 2015

Why have Canadian writers appropriated the genre of the American Western?

And how has the celebrity or infamy of men associated with the Western—such as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and John Wayne—become an issue for Canadian culture?

These are some of the questions I am answering in my research now, developing from my expertise in celebrity, popular and literary cultures, and Canadian literature.

Funded by an Insight Development Grant from SSHRC (2017-19), my book project spans the 20th century and into the 21st, promising to explain the arc of a genre and its changing historical and ideological contexts. The first chapter will be an expansion of my essay, recently published in the Canadian Literature journal (see Brief CV), on the Western in Thomas King's novel Green Grass, Running Water. The chapter gives priority to First Nations views of the genre. Later chapters are on land, "muscular Christianity" in early Westerns, the 1940s pulp fiction Westerns, postmodern Westerns, new historical Westerns, and contemporary examples.

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