The Cowboy: Representations of Labor in an American Work Culture

Hardcover | May 1, 1995

byBlake Allmendinger

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What are the connections between cattle branding and Christian salvation, between livestock castration and square dancing, between rustling and the making of spurs and horsehair bridles in prison, between children's coloring books and cowboy poetry as it is practiced today? The Cowboy usesliterary, historical, folkloric, and pop cultural sources to document ways in which cowboys address religion, gender, economics, and literature. Arguing that cowboys are defined by the work they do, Allmendinger sets out in each chapter to investigate one form of labor (such as branding, castration,or rustling) that cowboys perform in their "work culture." He then looks at early oral poems that cowboys recited around campfires, on trail drives, at roundups, and at home in their bunkhouses, and at later poems, histories and autobiographies written by cowboys--most of which have never beforebeen studied by scholars. He discovers that these texts not only deal with work but with larger concerns, including art, morality, spirituality, and male sexuality. In addition to spotlighting little-known texts, art, and archival sources, The Cowboy examines the works of Twain, Steinbeck, Cather,Norris, Dana, McMurtry, and others, and features more than 60 historic photographs, many of which have not been published until now.

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From Our Editors

What are the connections between cattle branding and Christian salvation, between livestock castration and square dancing, between cattle rustling and the making of spurs and horsehair bridles in prison, between children's coloring books and cowboy poetry as it is practiced today? The Cowboy uses literary, historical, folkloric, and po...

From the Publisher

What are the connections between cattle branding and Christian salvation, between livestock castration and square dancing, between rustling and the making of spurs and horsehair bridles in prison, between children's coloring books and cowboy poetry as it is practiced today? The Cowboy usesliterary, historical, folkloric, and pop cultur...

From the Jacket

What are the connections between cattle branding and Christian salvation, between livestock castration and square dancing, between cattle rustling and the making of spurs and horsehair bridles in prison, between children's coloring books and cowboy poetry as it is practiced today? The Cowboy uses literary, historical, folkloric, and po...

Blake Allmendinger is at University of California at Los Angeles.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:216 pages, 9.57 × 6.38 × 0.83 inPublished:May 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019507243X

ISBN - 13:9780195072433

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From Our Editors

What are the connections between cattle branding and Christian salvation, between livestock castration and square dancing, between cattle rustling and the making of spurs and horsehair bridles in prison, between children's coloring books and cowboy poetry as it is practiced today? The Cowboy uses literary, historical, folkloric, and pop and cultural sources to document ways in which cowboys address religion, gender, economics, and literature. Arguing that cowboys are defined by the work they do, Allmendinger sets out in each chapter to investigate one form of labor (such as branding, castration, or rustling) in the cowboy's "work culture". He looks at early oral poems recited around campfires, on trail drives, at roundups, and at home in ranch bunkhouses, and at later poems, histories, and autobiographies written by cowboys about their work - most of which have never before received scholarly attention. Allmendinger shows how these texts address larger concerns than the work at hand - including art, morality, spirituality, and male sexuality. In addition to spotli

Editorial Reviews

"Allmendinger's interdisciplinarity should be applauded, for students of literature, folklore, and popular culture will doubtless find much of value in his work....The Cowboy will appeal to anyone desiring an insightful and frequently entertaining reading of selected cowboy texts."--Journal ofSocial History