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«We Have a Commonalty and a Common Dream»

The Indigenous North American Novel in the 1990s


Isabel Schneider

Born out of the clash between oral traditions and Western literary standards, Native American fiction has grown into a unique and distinct art form. Aboriginal writers merge native and non-native elements and talk to a multicultural audience. Based on six novels published in 1993/94, the author illustrates the individual differences and the common ground existing among contemporary indigenous writers. Their fiction deals with concurrent themes, issues and characters, addressing questions of identity, belonging and 'Nativeness' in the modern world. Presenting heroes who move back and forth between the two cultures and create their own individual lifestyles, the novelsdeconstruct stereotypes and define Native American identity in new ways which reflect the reality of modern indigenous life in North America.
Contents: Contemporary Native American and Native Canadian novels - Historical and cultural background - Native Americans in Euro-American Literature and Imagination - Comparison of six novels: structure, style, authorial objectives and audience, themes, issues and characters, criticism - Summary: Differences and Common Ground - The Future of the Native American Novel.