Land of Enchantment, Land of Conflict

New Mexico in English-Language Fiction

978-0-89096-891-8 Cloth
6 x 9 x 0 in
256 pp. 40 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 08/01/1999
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2000 Southwest Book Award, presented by the Border Regional Library AssociationChoice Outstanding Academic Title award (selected for “excellence in scholarship and presentation and for making significant contributions to its field)
Is New Mexico truly the "Land of Enchantment," or is it a land of acrimony, where opposing values, backgrounds, and political and economic interests give rise to an atmosphere of conflict? According to David L. Caffey, it is both, and both qualities contribute to the region's appeal as a source of raw material for works of fiction. New Mexico offers the writer a varied landscape, a mosaic of cultures, and a colorful history, but conflict, necessary for fiction, is also found in cultural differences, opposing views on land and water use, and conflicting values concerning individual freedom and social restraint. The result, after more than a century and a half of literary activity, is a remarkable body of literature that has much to offer the reader who wants to learn more about the land and people of New Mexico.

In Land of Enchantment, Land of Conflict: New Mexico in English-Language Fiction, David L. Caffey identifies patterns in the observations of fiction writers concerning relations among cultural groups, attitudes toward the law, the erosion of individual freedom, and the social effects of weather and climate. Caffey also explores variations in historical and literary portrayals of famous New Mexicans and examines various myths concerning the frontier West and its heroes. Fiction of the atomic age and works by contemporary New Mexico writers are considered as well.

The fiction writer operates under assumptions and allegiances that are frequently at odds with those of the historian, social scientist, or journalist. Works of fiction can offer a unique perspective on a time and place and often reveal much about the process of mythmaking. Explore New Mexico with David L. Caffey in Land of Enchantment, Land of Conflict.

Published by Texas A&M University Press