John Cawelti

Biography of John Cawelti

John G. Cawelti (born 31 December 1929 in Evanston, Illinois) is the author of The Spy Story as well as other literature on the genres of detective fiction and westerns.

The John G. Cawelti Book Award is annually presented in his honor by the American Culture Association to the author of a Noteworthy Book on American Culture. He was also interested in science fiction and taught the course on it at the University of Chicago while there.

John Cawelti was one of the pioneers in establishing an academic respectability to the study of popular culture. His 1971 book The Six Gun Mystique, analyzes the messages contained in the western novels which were very popular for many decades with the public. His seminal Adventure, Mystery, and Romance: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture dissected the formulas used in these popular genres and argued for their importance alongside "high" literature.

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