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Trickster in the Land of Dreams

Papanikolas, Zeese
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University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska

On one level, Zeese Papanikolas's intriguing book is about Coyote, the great trickster hero of many Native American cultures. On another, it concerns the conflicting mythologies of the settlement of the American West, whether Brigham Young or Billy the Kid. Papanikolas tosses in an abundance of travelers' tales: the Homeric epics that underlie the folklore of the Western world and the American West alike, the reports of the Spanish entradas with their legends of cities of gold, hopeful stories of the dream mines of the Uinta foothills and the Big Rock Candy Mountain of the Wobblies. He also peppers his historical narrative with revisionist readings of popular novels, examining The Virginian as a morality play of social Darwinism and The Wizard of Oz as a parable of Gilded Age excess.

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