The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
in Michael Ondaatje
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This chapter studies Ondaatje's long poem, the highly successful The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, stating that this volume served as a turning point in Ondaatje's career, and focusing on Billy the Kid's final outlaw year on the New Mexico frontier. It shows that Billy the Kid combines a wide range of different registers, including historical romance and oral anecdote. The chapter then discusses Ondaatje's intertextual vision of Billy's legend, as well as its similarities with the genre of ‘historiographic metafiction’. It determines that Ondaatje's true interest in this novel was the hint of a vision unconstrained by social norms or a moral image of life.


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