Other Destinies: Understanding the American Indian Novel

Overview

This first book-length critical analysis of the full range of novels written between 1854 and today by American Indian authors takes as its theme the search for self-discovery and cultural recovery. In his introduction, Louis Owens places the novels in context by considering their relationships to traditional American Indian oral literature as well as their differences from mainstream Euroamerican literature. In the following chapters he looks at the novels of John Rollin Ridge, Mourning Dove, John Joseph ...

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Overview

This first book-length critical analysis of the full range of novels written between 1854 and today by American Indian authors takes as its theme the search for self-discovery and cultural recovery. In his introduction, Louis Owens places the novels in context by considering their relationships to traditional American Indian oral literature as well as their differences from mainstream Euroamerican literature. In the following chapters he looks at the novels of John Rollin Ridge, Mourning Dove, John Joseph Mathews, D’Arcy McNickle, N. Scott Momaday, James Welch, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, Michael Dorris, and Gerald Vizenor.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A Choctaw-Cherokee-Irish novelist and professor of literature, Owens provides an important insider's perspective on ten Native American novelists. Beginning with the Cherokee author John Rollin Ridge, whose 1854 novel, The Life and Times of Joaquin Murieta, was the first American Indian novel to be published, and moving on to contemporary authors such as Louise Erdrich and Gerald Vizenor, Owens identifies a common theme among these writers. All ten are mixed-blood Indians exploring their search for identity in two worlds, where ``the individual who would `be' Indian rather than `play' Indian is faced with an overwhelming challenge.'' Owens shows how each author dealt with this marginalization through his or her characters, moving from Ridge's angry masquerade as a Mexican American bandit to Vizenor's celebration of ``crossbloods'' as shape-shifting tricksters mediating between two worlds. Drawing heavily on Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin's theories, Owens presents a well-written, jargon-free book on an often-ignored genre of American literature.-- Lisa A. Mitten, Univ. of Pittsburgh Lib.
Booknews
A critical analysis of the full range of novels written between 1854 and today by American Indian authors. Owens places the novels in context by considering their relationships to traditional American Indian oral literaure as well as their differences from mainstream Euroamerican literature. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806126739
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1994
  • Series: American Indian Literature Series
  • Pages: 302
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis Owens, who is of Choctaw-Cherokee-Irish descent, is Professor of English at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of several books, including Other Destinies: Understanding the American Indian Novel and the novels The Sharpest Sight and Bone Game, all published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Other Destinies, Other Plots: An Introduction to Indian Novels 3
2 Origin Mists: John Rollin Ridge's Masquerade and Mourning Dove's Mixedbloods 32
3 Maps of the Mind: John Joseph Mathews and D'Arcy McNickle 49
4 Acts of Imagination: The Novels of N. Scott Momaday 90
5 Earthboy's Return: James Welch's Acts of Recovery 128
6 "The Very Essence of Our Lives": Leslie Silko's Webs of Identity 167
7 Erdrich and Dorris's Mixedbloods and Multiple Narratives 192
8 Ecstatic Strategies: Gerald Vizenor's Trickster Narratives 225
Notes 255
References 275
Bibliography of American Indian Novels 283
Index 286
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