Larry McMurtry, famed author of the cattle-drive epic Lonesome Dove and drama Terms of Endearment, as well as screenwriter for The Last Picture Show and Brokeback Mountain, is emblematic of the literary state of Texas. He approaches his craft with the sweeping majesty of one of his favorite subject matters—the mythical old west, with Texas as a focal point.
Another celebrated literary genre in Texas is folklore, and J. Frank Dobie (1888–1964) was and still is considered the foremost figure in the field. Dobie painted fascinating portraits of cowboys, cattlemen, hunters, and countless other Texas characters and critters. From an intellectual perspective, many Texans cite Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, essayist, short story writer, and novelist Katherine Anne Porter (1890–1980) as the state’s most accomplished writer. She is perhaps best known for her acute insight about complex subject matters in her works Pale Horse, Pale Rider (1939) and Ship of Fools (1961).
An essential book about Texas by a non-Texan is H. G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, A Dream (1990), which accurately and compellingly chronicles the positive and negative aspects of Texas’s passion for high school football. More recently, Texas journalist Molly Ivins (1944–2007) gained national fame as a sharp and scathing critic of the country’s right-wing political movement in the early part of the 21st century. President George W. Bush was a frequent Ivins target, and her book Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America was a success in liberal enclaves of the United States and especially in her hometown of Austin.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition