Ah. In the mail today, two copies of the new issue of Southwest American Literature featuring a scholar essay by yours truly on Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry and their various uses of the West as a literary genre. I focus on two barfights–one in the text(s) of each author–and blow that up into a greater issue of reader response. In fact, reader response seems increasingly important to the study of Western American literature, even though in the larger world of literary criticism it’s gone the way of the dodo. On the other hand, Western American lit has gone the same way in the eyes of the litcrit scene (with the possible exception of McCarthy’s Blood Meridian) so perhaps it’s a perfect combo.