Trickster Lives: Culture and Myth in American Fiction

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At once criminal and savior, clown and creator, antagonist and mediator, the character of trickster has made frequent appearances in works by writers the world over. As Margaret Atwood observed, trickster gods "stand where the door swings open on its hinges and the horizon expands; they operate where things are joined together and, thus, can also fall apart." A shaping force in American literature, trickster has appeared in such characters as Huckleberry Finn, Rinehart, Sula, and Nanapush. Usually a figure both culturally specific and transcendent, trickster leads the way to the unconscious, the concealed, and the seemingly unattainable.

Trickster Lives offers thirteen new and challenging interpretations of trickster in American writing, including essays on works by African American, Native American, Pacific Rim, and Latino writers, as well as an examination of trickster politics. This innovative collection of work conveys the trickster’s unmistakable imprint on the modern world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Trickster Lives represents a significant new perspective on American literature,as well as an important contribution to trickster scholarship, not simply because it contains excellent original essays on both well-known and lesser-known works, but because its interdisciplinary approach broadens our sense of what literary studies can be."--Jeanne Rosier Smith, author of Writing Tricksters: Mythic Gambols in American Ethnic Fiction

"For analysis and argument about trickster in Native Hawaiian texts, Brer Rabbit tales, Cherokee narratives, Erdrich novels, and selected Latino texts—and for challenging us to think about what is and is not appropriately called trickster—the volume is quite valuable.”--Americas

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820322773
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256

Meet the Author

Jeanne Campbell Reesman is a professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is the author of American Designs: The Late Novels of James and Faulkner and Jack London: A Study of the Short Fiction. She is coediting a major collection of London's photographs that will be published by the University of Georgia Press. Her other books include Trickster Lives and Speaking the Other Self (both Georgia).
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Table of Contents

Native American Tricksters: Literary Figuras of Community Transformers / William G. Doty
Kamapua'a: A Hawaiian Trickster / Nancy Alpert Mower
Brer Rabbit and His Cherokee Cousin: Moving Beyond Appropriation / Sandra K. Baringer
Deadpan Trickster: The American Humor of Huckleberry Finn / Sacvan Bercovitch
The Trickster God in "Roughing It" / Lawrence I. Berkove
John, Brer Rabbit, and Babo: The Trickster and Cultural Power in Melville and Joel Chandler Harris / R. Bruce Bickley Jr.
Tricksters and Shamans in Jack London's Short Stories / Gail Jones
Daring the Free Fall: Sula as Lilith / Debbie Lopez
The Trickster Metaphysics of Thylias Moss / Jay Winston
"Stop Making Sense": Trickster Variations in the Fiction of Louise Erdrich / Claudia Gutwirth
Turning Tricks: Trafficking in the Figure of the Latino / Maria DeGuzman
Where Are the Women Tricksters? / Lewis Hyde
Constitutional Allegory and Affirmative Action Babies: Stephen Carter's Talk of "Dissent" / Houston A. Baker Jr.
Selected Bibliography
Notes on Contributors
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