Despite the huge and belated praise now surrounding John Williams’ novel Stoner (1965), much less attention has been cast to his earlier novel, Butcher’s Crossing (1960). Still, it’s been rightly hailed as part of a pantheon of western masterpieces alongside Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (1985) and Oakley Hall’s Warlock (1958).

Some surface commentaries have hailed Butcher’s Crossing as the better “hit” novel. But more pertinent in this great literary western is the need to acknowledge John Williams’ focus on the ideology of nature in Butcher’s Crossing, which merits only a digression in the smidgen of present coverage, as originally blogged in my publication for The Conversation.

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