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The Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature by Joy Porter

The Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature

Part of the Cambridge Companions to Literature Series


The Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature by Joy Porter

Invisible, marginal, expected - these words trace the path of recognition for American Indian literature written in English since the late eighteenth century. This Companion chronicles and celebrates that trajectory by defining relevant institutional, historical, cultural, and gender contexts, by outlining the variety of genres written since the 1770s, and also by focusing on significant authors who established a place for Native literature in literary canons in the 1970s (Momaday, Silko, Welch, Ortiz, Vizenor), achieved international recognition in the 1980s (Erdrich), and performance-celebrity status in the 1990s (Harjo and Alexie). In addition to the seventeen chapters written by respected experts - Native and non-Native; American, British and European scholars - the Companion includes bio-bibliographies of forty authors, maps, suggestions for further reading, and a timeline which details major works of Native American literature and mainstream American literature, as well as significant social, cultural and historical events. An essential overview of this powerful literature.


'An impressive collection of essays! Porter and Roemer have nicely framed a conversation by scholars on what native literature was, is, and will become in the 21st century. Readers will find diversity in this volume - and by that I mean essays on poetry, fiction, history, and theater, and culture.'
LeAnne Howe, Author of Shell Shaker

'It is a distinguished work, clear in its writing, fortunate in its selections, thoroughly available to a wide audience, and expertly researched. Here is an invaluable resource, not only for students and teachers of Native American literature, but for anyone who has an interest in the subject. It is at once an excellent guide and the best of companions.'
N. Scott Momaday

'A serious, insightful and in-depth resource guide.'
Simon J. Ortiz

'... it will provide a very thorough and thoughtful overview to the subject of Native American writing, the complexities of its study, and the major authors who comprise its current canon.'
American Studies Today

'... a highly informative volume. ... well bound and clearly printed. ... highly recommended for all libraries purchasing materials on North American literatures, culture and history.'
Reference Reviews

About the Author

Joy Porter is a lecturer in the Department of American Studies at the University of Wales, Swansea, where she teaches a range of courses on American and Native American history and literature. She is the author of To Be Indian: The Life of Seneca-Iroquois Arthur Caswell Parker, 1881-1955 (2002). Her work on Indian themes can be found in a variety of journals and books such as New York History and The State of US History (Berg 2002). Previously she was Senior Lecturer in American History at Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge, where she established a range of courses on Indian and American history. Her next book is Native American Freemasonry, the research for which was supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. Kenneth M. Roemer, an Academy of Distinguished Teachers Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, has received four NEH grants to direct Summer seminars and has been a Visiting Professor in Japan, a guest lecturer at Harvard, and lectured in Vienna, Lisbon, Brazil, and Turkey. His articles have appeared in journals such as American Literature, American Literary History, and Modern Fiction Studies. His Approaches to Teaching Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain (ed.) was published by the MLA; his Native American Writers of the United States (ed.) won a Writer of Year Award from Wordcraft Circle. He has written four books on utopian literature, including The Obsolete Necessity and Utopian Audiences. His collection of personal narratives, verse, and photography about Japan is entitled Michibata de Deatta Nippon (A Sidewalker's Japan).

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Book Info

Publication date

21st July 2005


Joy Porter

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Cambridge University Press


368 pages


Literary studies: general



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