The Turn to the Native is a timely account of Native American literature and the critical writings that have grown up around it. Arnold Krupat considers racial and cultural “essentialism,” the ambiguous position of non-Native critics in the field, cultural “sovereignty” and “property,” and the place of Native American culture in a so-called multicultural era. Chapters follow on the relationship of Native American culture to postcolonial writing and postmodernism. Krupat comments on the recent work of numerous Native writers. The final chapter, “A Nice Jewish Boy among the Indians,” presents the author’s effort to balance his Jewish and working-class heritage, his adherence to Western “critical” ideals, and his ongoing loyalty to the values of Native cultures.
Arnold Krupat, a professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College, is the author of Ethnocriticism: Ethnography, History, Literature.