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A concern with myths is central to the drama of Sam Shepard, one of the leading figures in contemporary American drama and culture. What is the modality of this mythic orientation and its relation to American history and culture? In an attempt to answer this question the writers focus on the recurrent theme of the hope to find order and meaning in the present by coming to terms with the haunting specters of the past in Shepard s plays. They look into the visionary quests of Shepard s characters for identity in the Old West in relation to the American Dream. Central to their analysis is the playwright s historiographic reading of the past through myths that bear the values of the popular culture and the highly parodic presentation of the old myths in the postmodern era. The writers shed light on the bonds between today s culture and the past values of a nation formed into myths. They probe the unique way Shepard approaches these myths as a means of reviewing the past from a critical point of view. Those interested in historiography of the American culture, especially American pop culture, and Sam Shepard s drama will find the book a valuable source.
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