Deep Waters: The Textual Continuum in American Indian Literature

Deep Waters: The Textual Continuum in American Indian Literature

by Christopher B. Teuton


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Deep Waters: The Textual Continuum in American Indian Literature by Christopher B. Teuton

Weaving connections between indigenous modes of oral storytelling, visual depiction, and contemporary American Indian literature, Deep Waters demonstrates the continuing relationship between traditional and contemporary Native American systems of creative representation and signification. Christopher B. Teuton begins with a study of Mesoamerican writings, Diné sand paintings, and Haudenosaunee wampum belts. He proposes a theory of how and why indigenous oral and graphic means of recording thought are interdependent, their functions and purposes determined by social, political, and cultural contexts.


The center of this book examines four key works of contemporary American Indian literature by N. Scott Momaday, Gerald Vizenor, Ray A. Young Bear, and Robert J. Conley. Through a textually grounded exploration of what Teuton calls the oral impulse, the graphic impulse, and the critical impulse, we see how and why various types of contemporary Native literary production are interrelated and draw upon long-standing indigenous methods of creative representation. Teuton breaks down the disabling binary of orality and literacy, offering readers a cogent, historically informed theory of indigenous textuality that allows for deeper readings of Native American cultural and literary expression.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780803228498
Publisher: UNP - Nebraska
Publication date: 11/01/2010
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Christopher B. Teuton (Cherokee Nation) is an associate professor of English at the University of Denver. He is coeditor and coauthor of Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Diving into Deep Waters    

1. The Oral Impulse, the Graphic Impulse, and the Critical Impulse: Reframing Signification in American Indian Literary Studies

2. N. Scott Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain: Vision, Textuality, and History   

3. Trickster Leads the Way: A Reading of Gerald Vizenor's Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles     

4. Transforming "Eventuality": The Aesthetics of a Tribal "Word-Collector" in Ray A. Young Bear's Black Eagle Child and Remnants of the First Earth   

5. Interpreting Our World: Authority and the Written Word in Robert J. Conley's Real People Series     

Epilogue: Building Ground in American Indian Textual Studies     


Works Cited



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