The University of Wisconsin Press

Autobiography / Women's Studies / American Studies / Literature & Criticism


Maverick Autobiographies
Women Writers and the American West, 1900–1936
Cathryn Halverson

Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography

"[My autobiography] is shining little gold coins. . . . It is my little old life-tragedy. It means everything to me."
—Mary MacLane

In contrast to the traditional frontiers and pioneers focus of western studies, Maverick Autobiographies looks at women writers who came not to but from the West. Cathryn Halverson offers an alternative history of American women's autobiography and a new view of western women's literature. Mary MacLane, Opal Whiteley, and Juanita Harrison, she argues, rewrote frontier myths to make a space for themselves as female iconoclasts from the West. Creating an ardent readership for western women's "naked" desires, they became best-selling celebrity authors. After their intense early fame, though, they virtually disappeared. Halverson examines why, and brings their texts back to light through a richly textured weaving of biography, literary analysis, and cultural history—in the process, urging us to reformulate our notions of what it means to be a "western writer."

Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography
William L. Andrews, Series Editor

Cathryn Halverson is associate professor of English at Kobe City College of Foreign Studies, Japan.


Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

May 2004
LC: 2003020567 PS
240 pp. 6 x 9

Book icon
Cloth $45.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-19720-9
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
  Review cart contents
Secure checkout


Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated June 14, 2011

© 2011, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System