Voice of the Turtle I: American Indian Literature, 1900-1970

Paula G. Allen, Editor One World $24.5 (1p) ISBN 978-0-345-37526-1
Allen ( The Sacred Hoop) , a leading figure in Native studies and herself a Laguna Pueblo/Sioux, offers a useful and interesting, if flawed, anthology of American Indian literature of the first seven decades of the 20th century. She also provides a solid introduction, which puts the collected pieces in historical context, and she ushers in each selection with a brief explanatory note. Allen intends this work, as well as its projected sequel, to serve as a kind of map through Native writing for non-Native readers. Major figures in Native letters are represented. A well-chosen selection from N. Scott Momaday's Pulitzer-winning House Made of Dawn , for instance, presents the country's perhaps best-known Native writer in the novel that opened the publishing door for many current Indian authors. Also represented are pivotal writers such as D'Arcy McNickle (though not from his seminal work, The Surrounded ) and John Joseph Mathews (from Sundown , his novel of Osage life in the early part of the century). Nonfiction is also included, and no doubt the collection will be helpful to readers unfamiliar with the rich diversity of Native intellectual history. Yet odd critical judgments mar the volume. One wonders why Allen included multiple pieces by some authors (Charles A. Eastman and John M. Oskison, for example) while excluding the work of other, equally important writers (such as Alexander Posey and Ella Cara Deloria). And such relatively minor figures as Arthur Parker and Estelle Armstrong are represented, as well as works that were coauthored by whites and whose authorial voice and authenticity are difficult to apprehend. Author tour. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
Paperback - 321 pages - 978-0-345-39505-4
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