Dr. Mark Busby, a native Texan, is the director of the Southwest Regional Humanities Center, the director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest, and a professor of English at Texas State University-San Marcos. Dr. Busby is noted for his writings on the modern literature of the American West. Most notably, he is the author of Larry McMurtry and the West: An Ambivalent Relationship (1995), Ralph Ellison (1991), a title in the United States Authors series published by Twayne, and two Western Writers Series booklets, Preston Jones (1983) and Lanford Wilson, published by Boise State University. His short stories have been published in New Texas Short Stories and Texas Short Stories II. and he is also the author of the novel Fort Benning Blues (2001). The novel is based in part on his experiences attending Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning in 1970. Dr. Busby has edited The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Regional American Culture: The Southwest (2004) and New Growth 2: Short Stories of Contemporary Texas, (1993) as well as a co-editing the recently released book John Graves, Writer. He has additional co-editing credits for From Texas to the World and Back: Essays on the Journeys of Katherine Anne Porter (2001) as well as The Frontier Experience and the American Dream (1989).
John Graves, Writer (2007)
edited by Mark Busby and Terrell Dixon
Publisher: University of Texas Press
This book presents a picture of this renowned author of Goodbye to a River. The articles chosen by the editors place Graves' writings about natural and human history in Texas within the context of how his work affected fellow writers as welll as within the larger world of environmental literature. The overall effect is a greater understanding of Graves as a writer, his relationship with the land in Texas, and the community of writers and publishers within Texas. Dr. Busby's contributions include a critical overview of Graves' life and work, enriched by his work editing and publishing of books, anthologies and journal articles about the Southwest and its writers This book includes the transcript of a symposium session in which he interacted with Sam Hynes, Dave Hickey, and Mark Busby. There is also a formal interview conducted by Dave Hamrick as well as contributions by Graves' friends and fellow writers Bill Wittliff, Rick Bass, Bill Broyles, John R. Erickson, Bill Harvey, and James Ward Lee clarifying his on influence on them and the literature of the modern American West. Don Graham's contribution is a discussion of Graves' literary reputation as well as his acceptance into American letters. In addition to this material, there nine scholarly articles analysizing aspects of Graves' work including its place within American environmental literature, how the production of the book affected Graves himself, Graves' writing style, gender in his work, his sometimes contentious relationship with Texas Monthly magazine, and how "Goodbye to a River" fit into a larger body of the author's work and how this body of work actually represents one single narrative about a person's relationship with the land.
Fort Benning Blues: A Novel (April 2001)
Texas Christian University Press
A novel, set in the time of Vietnam, about a middle-class American boy from Texas who is drafted in 1969. He intends to duty to his country, especially as at applies to his grandfather's opinion of him. The young man is sent off to Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia. At this time, the Army is using OCS to weed out fools and incompetents with the intention of providing a better chance for the troops to survive the grinding unconventional war in Vietnam. After arriving in camp, his first assignment is the job of driver for Lt. Calley while he waits for his trial to begin for his participation in the My Lai massacre. He and two of his buddies in OCA are radicalized by these sort of experiences to the point where anti-war sentiments begins to develope. The Kent State shootings push them over the edge and all three go AWOL. The three of them finally meet again, 25 years later, at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. Busby recreats the era of the sixties and seventies by incorporating song lyrics, newspaper headlines, and pop culture slang. The overall focus of the book is the developing realization of the wrong-headedness of the war with a realization that it is possible to become a veteran of the Vietnam Era and the army without being an actual veteran of the war itself.
Ralph Ellison (June 1991)
Twayne Publishers United States Authors series
This book traces the influences of folklore, mythology, and oral tradition on the writings of Ralph Ellison. Dr. Busby also places Ellison's Invisible Man within the contradictory forces of American culture and history, particularly the myths of the American West. American mythology of the western frontier has always embraced the spirit of freedom and limitless possibility while at the same time emphasizing an ignoring of the past. This seems a strange argument, but one of the central American beliefs, especially in the west, is that it is what you can do and accomplish that determines your success and character, not where you happened to be born or the status of your family. These contradictions are particularly evident to African-Americans, especially since many aspects of American history empower enduring social attitudes about race. The Tulsa, Oklahoma 1921 Race Riot was one of the worst of the race riots of the post-World War One era. Busby examines how Ellison's fiction expressed and shaped this painful awareness of the social and cultural restriction, tradition, and violence of American life during that period. This bok is also important for its discussion of the impressive body of Ellison's nofiction writing, particularly the essay collections Shadow and Ace (1964) and Going to the Territory (1986). This book also make a particular effort to clarify the subsequent influence of Ellison on his contemporaries and his preeminence as a 20th century American writer. While there is an abundance of critical writing about Ralph Ellison, this book provides important contributions to this scholarship by describing and discussing Ellison's psychic connection with the American Southwest and its relationship to his written explorations of America's social and cultural contradictions.
Lanford Wilson (June 1987)
Boise State University
This is a title number 81 in the Boise State University Western Writers series. Books in this series are intended to deepen the understanding and appreciation for the literature of the American west, in all its range and complexity. This title, written by Dr. Busby, focuses on the life and work of the noted modern playwright and libretist Lanford Wilson, born 1937 in Missouri. He spent his early years in the Ozarks and, as a teenager, moved to California where he lived with his father. He began writing at the University of Chicago in 1959, and his career as a professional playwright began in the early 1960s Greenwich Village in New York City where he also became a founding member of the Circle Repertory Company (aka Circle Rep). He is noted for the plays Rimers of Eldritch (1965), Hot L Baltimore (1973) , The Mound Builders (1975) and Talley's Folly (1979). Talley's Folly won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. Wilson is also a winner of the Vernon Rice Award, the Outer Circle Award, and two Village Voice Obie Awards (honoring Off and Off-Off Broadway theater productions). Dr. Busby's book is a brief, authoritative introduction to Lanford Wilson based on the significance of his contributions to western American literature. The author presents biographical material about Wilson as well as a critical interpretation of his writing. The critical review includes a discussion of the full range of Wilson's work.
Preston Jones (August 1983)
Boise State University
This is a title number 58 in the Boise State University Western Writers series. Books in this series are intended to deepen the understanding and appreciation for the literature of the American west, in all its range and complexity. This title, written by Dr. Busby, focuses on the life and work of the noted modern playwright of the west, Preston Jones (1936-1979). Jones was born, raised, and educated in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After college, he joined the Dallas Theater Center as an actor, a director, and a playwright. He is especially noted for his A Texas Trilogy cycle of plays (The Last Meeting, Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander, and The Oldest Living Graduate). Preston received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to write a play for the American bicentennial, the Golden Apple Award from Cue magazine, and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Soon after the success of A Texas Trilogy at New York City's Kennedy Center, Preston Jones died after surgery for a bleeding ulcer. Dr. Busby's book is a brief, authoritative introduction to Preston Jones based on the significance of his contributions to western American literature. The author presents biographical material about Jones as well as a critical interpretation of his writing. The critical review includes a discussion of the full range of Jones' work.
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