Date of Award
Education Specialist (Ed.S)
In examining the works of Neihardt, the writer has been impressed with the theme that apparently preoccupies this poet, namely, the epic qualities evident in the great mood of courage that was developed west of the Missouri River in the nineteenth century. Neihardt contends that this period with which the A Cycle of the West (1949) deals was one of discovery, exploration, and settlement -- a genuine epic period, differing in no essential from the other great epic periods that marked the advance of the Inda-European peoples out of Asia and across Europe. Furthermore, by composing The Song of Hugh Glass, The Song of the Three Friends, The Song of the Indian Wars, The Song of the Messiah, and The Song of Jed Smith, Neihardt asserts that he has written the only truly valid American epic and that he considers himself the epic poet of the West. This assertion has produced the problem: Can Neihardt be considered an epic poet? Has he produced an epic? What literary merits, if any, may be attributed to his Cycle? The fact that there is justification for examining the claims and the works of Neihardt is obvious. Neihardt is an American writer who claims to be the epic poet of our country. To date, there has been no critic nor student who has made a detailed study to evaluate Neihardt's claim in the light of his actual achievement.
Copyright 1967 Paul A. Gatschet
Gatschet, Paul A., "John G. Neihardt as Epic Poet of the West" (1967). Master's Theses. 1050.