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Heart of the Southwest: A Selective Bibliography of Novels, Stories and Tales Laid in Arizona and New Mexico & Adjacent Lands
by Lawrence Clark Powell
Originally published in 1959 by Dawson's Book Shop; printed by Saul & Lillian Marks at
The Plantin Press, Los Angeles
Dedicated to J. Frank Dobie
best Southwesterner of them all
This bibliography follows one I compiled of novels about Southern California called Land of Fiction. This does not mean that I regarded that region as not a part of the Southwest. It also depends upon irrigation for its fertility, and upon power from the Colorado River to support its industries; and yet two things distinguish it from what I call the heart of the Southwest -- Arizona and New Mexico -- namely the City and the Ocean. The vitality which animates fiction about Southern California is a product of the energy generated by the city swarm of Los Angeles, and the weather which makes the region magnetic to millions is Pacific born.
With few exceptions the books in this bibliography are laid in the lands east of the Rio Colorado, south of the Mesa Verde, west of the Pecos, and north of the Border. Like Southern California, Texas is a special province, calling for separate treatment, and I have ventured barely over the line to include such marginal Texans as Tom Lea and John Houghton Allen. The Rockies and the Prairies are also excluded, or perhaps merely postponed. Of the compiling of bibliographies there is seemingly no end, and it may be that I am suffering from a sort of creeping biblio-regionalism.
No claim is made for being a pioneer in the field. From those who have come before me I have greatly profited. Bibliographical books and chapters by J. Frank Dobie, Mary Tucker, Otis Coan and Richard Lillard, Erna Fergusson, Mary Austin, T. M. Pearce, Mary G. Boyer, and Lyle Saunders, are some of the sources from which I have drawn.
In using the word selective in my title, I have attempted to choose from many a few more than a hundred of what my own taste and judgment tell me are the best books. As Arizona and New Mexico are the geographical heart of the Southwest, so are these books to me the literary heart of the great body of writing about the Southwest. From the time of Captain Mayne Reid a century ago, through the Beadle Dime Novels of the 1890's to the modern spate of paperback westerns, there has always been an unmeasured flood of popular books about the West and the Southwest. Worth study is the world-wide influence these books have had not only in forming people's ideas of the West but also in actually bringing immigrants to the country. Mostly unimportant as separates they are meaningful in the mass and deserving of bibliographical study by someone whose literary taste is less fastidious than mine.
My chief criterion has been fidelity to the characteristics of this region, its landscape and weather, its people and lore. A wide range off fictional skill is found in these authors, but all of them, from Andy Adams to Harold Bell Wright, have in common a passionate adoration of the Southwest. Although I am an inhabitant of an adjacent land, I have been in and out and around the heartland ever since birth, and I regard myself first as a Southwesterner, then as a Californian.
I have said before and I say again, a good work of fiction is a better guide to a region than a bad work of fact, and these volumes constitute a veritable encyclopedia of the Southwest, its history, landscape, and people, Indian, Spanish, Anglo.
Need I say that I have not only examined every book on my list, but have read them as well from cover to cover, mostly in one glorious summer spree, some for the first time, others such as Zane Grey's after a lapse of years and with nostalgia for the faraway thrill of first discovering the West in books.
In listing them I have not gone into exhaustive bibliographical detail, giving only enough facts of imprint and pagination to ensure identification. Annotations are literary rather than bibliographical, and attempt succinctly to appraise each work's merit, to indicate its locale, and to relate it to its contemporaries and predecessors. To collect a complete set today would not be easy; a few years more and it may prove impossible, so indifferent are people (and most libraries) toward preserving modern novels.
I have already acknowledged my debt to earlier bibliographical works. A number of individuals have aided me. It was Glen Dawson who got me started on these bibliographies of regional fiction. My colleague William Wallace Bellin drew the map. I have had essential help from Frederick Webb Hodge, Haniel Long, Patricia Paylore, Donald M. Powell, T. M. Pearce, Joseph Miller, W. W. Robinson, Esther Euler, Mary Kerr, Everett Moore, Betty Rosenberg, Wilbur J. Smith, Leo Linder, Florence Williams and other members of my staff and those of other libraries.
The influence of J. Frank Dobie is present throughout this book. There is no better introduction to the region than his Guide to Life and Literature of the Southwest , the preface to the revised edition of which should be memorized by all who have anything to do with books. In correspondence and conversation he has given me the benefit of his knowledge and wisdom, and my book is dedicated to him in gratitude and affection.
Lastly, I am grateful as always to my wife Fay for the anchorage in which this and all of my books have been written.
L. C. P.
University of California Library
Los Angeles, 27 September 1954
THE ARID SOUTHWEST has always been too strong, too indomitable for most people. Those who can stand it have had to learn that man does not modify this country; it transforms him, deeply. Perhaps our generation will come to appreciate it as the country God remembered and saved for man's delight when he could mature enough to understand it. God armored it, as the migrating Easterner learned in his anguish, with thorns on the trees, stings and horns on the bugs and beasts. He fortified it with mountain ranges and trackless deserts. He filled it with such hazards as no legendary hero ever had to surmount. The Southwest can never be remade into a landscape that produces bread and butter. But it is infinitely productive of the imponderables so much needed by a world weary of getting and spending. It is wilderness where a man may get back to the essentials of being a man. It is magnificence forever rewarding to a man courageous enough to seek to renew his soul.
-- ERNA FERGUSSON, in Our Southwest
Adobe Walls, 17
Blood Brother, 8
Chicken Every Sunday, 108
Dark Circle of Branches, 7
Early Americana, 91
Far from Cíbola, 51
Grand Canyon, 96
Habit of Empire, 52
In the Night Did I Sing, 40
King of the Broncos, 75
Laughing Boy, 61
Man Who Killed the Deer, 111
Native Tales of New Mexico, 5
Once in the Saddle and Pasó por Aquí, 89
People of the Valley, 112
Rainbow Trail, 47
Saga of Billy the Kid, 19
Tacey Cromwell, 93
Useless Cowboy, 71
Waterless Mountain, 6
The text for Heart of the Southwest has been reformatted from a copy donated to The University of Arizona Library by Lawrence Clark Powell, who has graciously provided copyright for this republication.