American Bypaths: Essays in Honor of E. Hudson Long

By Robert G. Collmer; Jack W. Herring | Go to book overview

Adams, Dobie, and Webb on The Use of Regional Material

Wilson M. Hudson

Before J. Frank Dobie and Walter P. Webb had published any books of their own, they thought of Andy Adams as an outstanding instance of a writer who had made good use of Texas and Southwestern material. After learning in 1923 that he was living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, they began a correspondence with him that continued intermittently for twelve years. At first they wanted to know where Andy had lived, how he had obtained his material, what had led him to become a writer, what the relation was between fact and fiction in his books, and so on. They were in the position of younger men addressing questions to an older man whom they felt to be successful in a field to which they were attracted. In answering their questions Andy fell into the role of their literary adviser. Wishing to see that Andy received proper recognition, they praised him in their essays and books. Eventually they passed on to a general consideration of the problems faced by regional writers. There is here a kind of sequence which I should like to follow in the present essay.

When Dobie and Webb began writing to Andy in 1923, they knew that he was born in Indiana in 1859 and that he had come to Texas as a young man. They must have been aware of the exaggerated claim of his publishers that he had driven cattle up the trail for ten

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