Sam Shepard as Slim in Cowboy Mouth, 1971

Portrait of the Artist: Sam Shepard and the Anxiety of Identity

A masters thesis presented to the faculty of the University of Virginia on May 1, 1996.

by John Blackburn


I. Three True Stories

An introduction by way of Shepard's most recent work.

II. Portrait of the Artist

A general look at Shepard's career.

III. Cowboy Mouth

The 1971 play, Cowboy Mouth reveals much about Shepard's life-as-dramaturgy.

IV. Patti Smith, Star-Maker

Patti Smith seems to have had an enormous impact on Shepard. Also, she serves as perhaps our best Shepard informant.

V. It's Only Rock-and-Roll

But Sam Shepard likes it.

VI. Make-Believe Cowboy

Shepard's early models for the ideal man came from the silver screen.

VII. True West, False West

The play True West displays evidence of the playwright's deeply-held ambivalence.

VIII. Fool for Fame

Shepard adapts Fool for Love to the screen and takes its leading role.

IX. Conclusion

X. Works Cited

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