The Early Novel of the Southwest

By Edwin W. Gaston Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
INTELLECTUAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTS

IN ADDITION TO plot, characterization, and setting, intellectual and philosophical points of view in the early novel of the Southwest are worthy of consideration. Although these ideas are often immature and are not introduced with conscious effort in many of the works, they recognize contrasts in economic, political, religious, ethical or moral, and social areas unknown in fiction of the eastern United States. Eight of the forty novels examined in this study devote special attention to intellectual and philosophical concepts. They are Francis Berrian, Inez, Great-Grandmother's Girls, Delight Makers, Under the Man-Fig, Heart's Desire, Shepherd of the Hills, and Flute of the Gods.

As a reaction perhaps to an acquisitive era and region, the early novel in dealing with economic matters generally dwells on the dangers of the pursuit of material possessions. The anonymous author of L'Heroine du Texas contends that money "is not all; when one consults only the material side, happiness is not always present." Yet, as Charles Sealsfield points out, money is "power" ( Cabin Book); or, as Emerson Bennettadds, it "is the Archimedean lever of the present century" ( Viola). As a consequence, the early novel suggests, the pursuit of money can completely change a person, giving him

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The Early Novel of the Southwest
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chapter I- Introduction 3
  • Chapter II- A General Survey 31
  • Chapter III- Plot Types and Techniques 45
  • Chapter IV- Character Portrayal 82
  • Chapter V- Impressions of Geography 123
  • Chapter VI- Intellectual and Philosophical Concepts 156
  • Chapter VII- Conclusion 189
  • Epilogue- Southwestern Fiction since 1918 195
  • Appendixes 209
  • Appendix II- The Authors 263
  • Related Studies 288
  • Bibliography 292
  • Index 303
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