Literary Precedents for The Virginian

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When writing The Virginian, Wister was a literary pioneer who sincerely wished to preserve authentic Western experience. As he explains, "This life I am trying to write about [does not] seem to me to have been treated in fiction so far — seriously at least. The cattle era in Wyoming is nearly over, and in the main unchronicled. . . ."

Unless one recognizes the dime novel, which clumsily portrayed the West as an area of lawlessness and danger, as Wister's source of inspiration, The Virginian has no legitimate prototype.

If viewed strictly as a regional novel, The Virginian could be considered a successor to the frontier novels of Bret Harte, Joaquin Miller, Ambrose Bierce, and Mark Twain. Collectively, these authors introduced the reading public to the American frontier, that area beyond the Mississippi River and the Middle Border. Other than these somewhat superficial connections with the regional novel and the...

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This section contains 159 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy The Virginian Short Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
The Virginian from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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