tinguished scholarship, beginning withnthe studies of Samuel Eliot Morisonnand Perry Miller, and reaching fulfillmentnin the most recent writings ofnEdmund Morgan, Ernest Lee Tuveson,nand Sacvan Bercovitch.nThe Southern corporate myth isnanother matter—one I have attemptednto describe in the opening chapters ofnmy Generations of the Faithful Heart.nFor the South was an England transplanted,nnot a Protestant Zion — a relocationnand modification on thesenshores of a beloved but mortal inheritance,nnot an attempt to leap backwardnor forward into “sacred time.” Southernnwriters (from The Proceedings ofnthe English Colonic in Virginia andnMichael Drayton to Donald Davidsonnand Allen Tate) often specify theirncommitment to this version of thenAmerican enterprise with allusions tonVergil’s vision of Rome as a secondnTroy. The myth of the middle colonies,nof Philadelphia, Trenton, andnNew York—a premise or ground epitomizednin the genial figure (and Autobiography)nof Benjamin Franklin, andnin the stories of that busy young fellow,nHoratio Alger—also has its collectivencharacteristics; it fosters these as anninherited “way,” even though thatnhabitus implies in its essence a visionnof unrestrained private ambition. Itnenvisages a world held together byntrade, sustained by commercial law —nand by the kind of amity that is generatednby mutually profitable commercialnexchange. This is the dream of AdamnSmith and of the Scottish Enlightenment,nbroadly understood — thoughnFederalists/Whigs/Republicans mayngive to it a slightly more mercantilist,ncentralizing flavor.nThe point to be made out of thesenalternative American models is that thencharacteristic action of westeringn(which is now subsumed in the literaturenof our Western states) is distinctive,nbecause it is accomplished withoutnthe support of any such inclusive imagenof group purpose. Though it maynpresuppose recollections and expectationsnof a corporate framework, of anDixie to go home to “when the work’snall done next fall” (as in the oldncowboy ballad), or of a desire to createnand embody such a place, one that willnleave truculent Western integrity intactnyet still locate for the wanderer a placenof repose, the journey in the literaturen44/CHRONICLESnof the West is not (except with thenMormons) undertaken in order tonnourish such an ambitious matrix. Innspirit. Western American literature affirmsna measure of civilization as annend in itself, but refuses to attach tonthat commitment a larger telos, onenthat would require an attempt to “conquer”nor subdue the setting withinnwhich such enclaves of civilization arencontained.nFrom Ticonderoga (Kenneth Roberts),nCooperstown (James FenimorenCooper), Watauga Old Fields (CarolinenGordon), and the Natchez Tracen(Madison Jones, Robert Penn Warren),nthe setting of the literature of thenfrontier has drifted beyond settlednboundaries to the Ohio of ConradnRichter, to St. Joseph and the anchornof Parkman’s Oregon Trail, and to thenopen spaces of North Dakota describednin Theodore Roosevelt’s Ranch Lifenand remembered in the writing of ThenWinning of the West. Through all ofnthis unfolding, the setting shifted butnthe subject did not change. And whennfinally connected to the deserts, plains,nand mountains of what is now thenWest, when a little “domesticated” bynsettlement of the last empty spaces, bynthe coming of a “bride” to Yellow Skyn(as in Crane’s classic story). Westernnliterature did not give up the identity itnhad achieved as a chronicle of men andnwomen finding their way outside whatnLeo Marx has called “the cultivatedngarden.”nInternalizing the sense of sacrednspace, of search and encounter in andnwith wilderness (wild places and wildnmen), preserving in memory a heritagenof westering that resolves finally intonmany different genres, affirming thenvalue of individual choice and of ancertain peace with providential thingsnnot to be remade, the makers of thisnliterature have found a path of theirnown. They tell of local inhabitationnwithout any loss of the capacity fornself-rejuvenation just beyond the limits;nof a civil life on a dramatic scale, a lifenthat is conducted with a zest no longernpossible in the crowded places wherensuch memories no longer function innindividual experience.nThis is, of course, a broad syntheticnstatement about a considerable volumenof American writing, one that can bendisputed. But it is generally supportednby the fiction of the major Westernnnnnovelists, by some poetry, prose pastoral,nPlutarchian biography, oldfashionedn”narrative history,” and anspecial sort of travel literature. I makenmy case here out of the handiwork ofnthe novelists because their achievementnis at the center of any Westernncanon we might devise: because theynhave been so numerous, so closelynrelated and successful. Furthermore, Infocus on the fiction of the West as itnstands and not on the literature of thenmoving frontier.nA good place to begin is with A.B.nGuthrie of Montana and his novels ofnearly exploration and settlement.nGuthrie has written a series of sixnnovels that, when taken together (as henexpects them to be), constitute a historynof his state from the coming of thenwhite man to the foothills of the Tetonsnthrough the late 1950’s. The mostnfamous of these books treat of thenearliest inhabitation of (by mountainnmen/trappers) and travel into his homencountry by assorted hunters and settlers—ofnlonely wanderings in searchnof beaver and of wagon trains going onnthroiigh the mountains to the Pacificncoast. In the first three novels in thisnseries the tone is lofty, hieratic, andnspacious, as befits the chronicles of anheroic age. The Big Sky (1947), ThenWay West (1949), and Fair Land, FairnLand (1982) make up the Dick Summersntrilogy and tell the story of thosengreat “loners” who come to know thenwilderness as one would learn a holynbook. Their names and stories keepnalive in memory the sense of thennuminous that had, in the first place,ninspired them to search “high andndeep” into the hidden places “up thenMissouri.” Summers is less the madnprophet than some of the mountainnmen, less committed to that absolute,nuncircumstanced freedom that is possiblenonly in what political philosophersnspeak of as “a state of nature.” However,nthough he likes a little “society,”nlike Vardis Fisher’s Sam Minard innMountain Man (1965), FredericknManfred’s Hugh Glass in Lord Grizzlyn(1954), and J. Frank Dobie’s Ben Lillynin The Ben Lilly Legend (1950), he isndifficult to imagine in town.nSummers at times has property —nmore than a gun, traps, a horse, and anbuff^alo knife. For a while he farms innMissouri. Later he offers his energynand skill to lead a company along then