What is the American West as imagined and depicted by 20th-century writers? Which mythologies and ideologies about the West (such as rugged individualism and the idea of the frontier) dating from the 19th-century are still present and perpetuated by contemporary authors? How do contemporary writers reject or revise such mythologies? How do individualism, counter-culturalism, racial difference, aridity, competition over natural resources, and environmentalism shape the way Americans imagine the West? How does the West in its conflicts, diversity, and complexity epitomize in a dramatic way what we imagine as deeply American? These are just some of the questions that we will attempt to answer through our reading of novels, short stories, poems and essays by 20th-century American westerners such as Wallace Stegner, Gretel Ehrlich, Ken Kesey, Leslie Marmon Silko, Edward Abbey, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Gary Snyder.