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.