Dime Novels

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Colin Ramsey Ph.D., Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: At the end of John Ford’s 1962 Western "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," a persistent reporter, having just heard the truth about who actually shot the notorious murderer, wads up his notes and tosses them in the trash. His explanation is simple: ‘‘This is the West,’’ he remarks matter-of-factly; ‘‘when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.’’ The film thus sums up the long and entangled history of the American West and the printed word; and, until the advent of film at the beginning of the twentieth century, no print medium played a bigger role in the creation of the West as a place of legend than the dime novel. Indeed, the dime novel’s preference for ‘‘legend’’ over fact was visible even to some who themselves became a focus of the dime novels’ legend-making.

Additional Information

Ramsey CT, Derounian-Stodola KZ. Dime Novels. In: Samuels S, ed. A Companion to American Fiction 1780-1865. Blackwell Concise Companions to Literature and Culture. Wiley-Blackwell; 2004:262-273. doi:10.1002/9780470999219.ch24. Publisher version of record available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/9780470999219.ch24
Language: English
Date: 2004
Dime novels, Westerns, the American West, film, legend-making, American Literature

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