The Nervous Origins of the American Western

Barbara Will, “The Nervous Origins of the American Western,”¬†American Literature¬†20, no. 2 (1998): 293-316. Will looks at the role that neurasthenia played in the development of the idea of the American West, specifically in its literary iteration. Neurasthenia, as defined by George Beard and Silas Mitchell, was a disease brought on (specifically in men) by … More The Nervous Origins of the American Western

"There is still, I think, not enough recognition by teachers of the fact that the desire to think — which is fundamentally a moral problem — must be induced before the power is developed. Most people, whether men or women, wish above all else to be comfortable, and thought is a pre-eminently uncomfortable process…" — … More