Over pina coladas the author works on his tan and discusses timeless Texas themes: the transition of the state from a rural to an urban world, the sense of a vanishing era, and the way that artists in literature and film represent a state both infectiously grand and too big for its britches. In "Fildelphia Story, " Graham remembers his Ivy League professorial stint in a city the small-town Texan who rented him a moving van looked up under "F." In "Doing England" the Lone Star Yankee courts Oxford University and returns with a veddy British education. In "The Ground Sense Necessary" a native son journeys inward to explore the dry ceremonies of frontier Protestantism and to recount movingly his father's funeral in Collin County. With his wide-ranging knowledge of classic regional works, Graham unerringly traces the style and substance of local literary giants and offers a sometimes irreverent but always entertaining look at the Texas triumvirate of Dobie, Webb and Bedichek. Other essays look at such Texas greats as Katherine Anne Porter, George Sessions Perry, and John Graves.
Don Graham is J. Frank Dobie Regents Professor of American and English literature at the University of Texas at Austin. A native Texan, he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas and teaches the now famous course, "Life and Literature of the Southwest," first created by Dobie. He is the author of Cowboys and Cadillacs How Hollywood Looks at Texas, Texas: A Literary Portrait, and No Name on the Bullet: A Biography of Audie Murphy.