J. Frank Dobie (1888-1964) was already widely known as a Texas author and folklorist when he first published his Guide to Life and Literature of the Southwest in 1943. The Guide evolved from notes Dobie had collected and revised over the previous dozen or so years. It served as the basis for a class which he then taught at the University of Texas in Austin. It was further refined and significantly expanded for republication in 1952. The text for the online edition which follows is derived from the 1952 version of Dobie's work.
The Guide, as Dobie was the first to point out, is "fragmentary, incomplete, and in no sense a [comprehensive] bibliography" of Southwestern culture. Rather, it is a commentary and listing of a miscellany of writings on the Southwest that Dobie considered "good reading." The Guide's purpose, according to Dobie, was primarily: to help people of the Southwest learn more of the land to which they belong, to make their past more alive, to bring them to a realization of the values of their own cultural inheritance, and to stimulate them to observe.
By nature, any such work becomes dated, as many new titles are added which often provide deeper insight into new aspects of Southwestern history and culture. Nevertheless, Dobie's Guide remains an important work, written in a witty style, and conveniently organized into almost three dozen categories that cover virtually every aspect of Southwestern culture. Many of the titles reviewed by Dobie continue to be referenced in modern bibliographies, and will forever remain as primary sources which cover the period in which the Southwest was won. Almost without exception, the titles that form the core of Southwestern Classics On-Line will be included in Dobie's Guide.
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