Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

West of the Border
The Multicultural Literature of the Western American Frontiers

By Noreen Groover Lape

"[Lape] discusses a variety of works of interest to scholars in American and cultural studies, focusing on issues of culture, ethnicity, and stereotypes within Western frontier writing. Recommended for academic libraries and libraries with strong American studies collections."

Library Journal

"Lape breaks new ground in multicultural and western studies with this superb interdisciplinary work. Defining the frontier as a place of contact between settled and advancing cultures, the author focuses on the perspectives of those who came into conflict with western Anglo settlement."


"West of the Border is an informed and insightful study of the multicultural literature of the West that should contribute in significant ways to scholars’ understanding of the ways in which minorities negotiate identity in a hegemonic culture."

Carter Jones Meyer, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Expanding the scope of American borderland and frontier literary scholarship, West of the Border examines the writings of nineteenth- and turn-of-the-century Native, African, Asian, and Anglo American frontier writers. This book views frontiers as “human spaces” where cultures make contact as it considers multicultural frontier writers who speak from “west of the border.”

James P. Beckwourth, a half-black fur trader; Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, a Paiute translator; Salishan author Mourning Dove; Cherokee novelist John Rollin Ridge; Sui Sin Far, an Anglo-Chinese short story writer, and her sister, romance novelist Onoto Watanna; and Mary Austin, a white southwestern writer- each of these intercultural writers faces a rite of passage into a new social order. Their writings negotiate their various frontier ordeals: the encroachment of pioneers on the land; reservation life; assimilation; Christianity; battles over territories and resources; exclusion; miscegenation laws; and the devastation of the environment.

In West of the Border, Noreen Groover Lape raises issues inherent in American pluralism today by broaching timely concerns about American frontier politics, conceptualizing frontiers as intercultural contact zones, and expanding the boundaries of frontier literary studies by giving voice to minority writers.

Noreen Groover Lape is an assistant professor in the Department of Language and Literature at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. She is the author of West of the Border: The Multicultural Literature of the Western Frontiers, which was named an Outstanding Academic Book by Choice.   More info →

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
    Rites of Passage, Contact Zones, and the American Frontiers
  • 1. Double Consciousness in the Borderlands
    The Frontier Autobiographies of James P. Beckwourth and Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins
  • 2. The Second Coming of Trickster
    Culture Contact and Trickster Border Narratives
  • 3. Bartered Brides and Compulsory Bachelors on the Chinese American Frontier
    The Short Stories of Sui Sin Far
  • 4. Arranged Betrothals and Mixed Marriages
    The Japanese American Romances of Onoto Watanna
  • 5. Conservation, Anthropology, and the Closed Frontier
    The Southwestern Writings of Mary Austin
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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Retail price: $28.95, S.
Release date: September 2000
272 pages
Rights:  World

Retail price: $80.00, S.
Release date: September 2000
272 pages
Rights:  World

Release date: September 2000
272 pages
Rights:  World

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