Narratives of Native Presence

Edited by Gerald Vizenor

396 pages


November 2008


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The concept and idea of survivance has revolutionized our understanding of the lives, creative impulses, literary practices, and histories of the Native peoples of North America. Engendered and articulated by the Anishinaabe critic and writer Gerald Vizenor, survivance throws into relief the dynamic, inventive, and enduring heart of Native cultures well beyond the colonialist trappings of absence, tragedy, and powerlessness. Vizenor argues that many people in the world are enamored with and obsessed by the concocted images of the Indian—the simulations of indigenous character and cultures as essential victims. Native survivance, on the other hand, is an active sense of presence over historical absence, deracination, and oblivion.

The nature of survivance is unmistakable in Native stories, natural reason, active traditions, customs, and narrative resistance and is clearly observable in personal attributes such as humor, spirit, cast of mind, and moral courage in literature. In this anthology, eighteen scholars discuss the themes and practices of survivance in literature, examining the legacy of Vizenor’s original insights and exploring the manifestations of survivance in a variety of contexts.

Contributors interpret and compare the original writings of William Apess, Eric Gansworth, Louis Owens, Carter Revard, Gerald Vizenor, and Velma Wallis, among others.

Author Bio

Gerald Vizenor is Distinguished Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.  He is the author of more than twenty books, including Fugitive Poses: Native American Indian Scenes of Absence and Presence and Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance, both published by the University of Nebraska Press.
Contributors include Susan Bernardin, Helmbrecht Breinig, John Gamber, Diane Glancy, Linda Lizut Helstern, Karl Kroeber, Arnold Krupat, A. Robert Lee, Joe Lockard, James Mackay, Deborah Madsen, James Ruppert, Allan J. Ryan, Takayuki Tatsumi, Alan Velie, Gerald Vizenor, Jace Weaver, and Ying-wen Yu.


"This skillfully edited work is invaluable to academic discussions of Vizenor's ideas; it presents insights into his original concept of survivance and examinations of the variety of contexts to which the concept may be applied."—Lisa Close, Great Plains Quarterly

Table of Contents

1. Aesthetics of Survivance: Literary Theory and Practice

      Gerald Vizenor

2. Why It's a Good Thing Gerald Vizenor Is Not an Indian

      Karl Kroeber

3. Native Survivance in the Americas: Resistance and Remembrance in Narratives by Asturias, Tapahonso, and Vizenor

      Helmbrecht Breinig

4. On Subjectivity and Survivance: Rereading Trauma through The Heirs of Columbus and The Crown of Columbus

      Deborah L. Madsen

5. Playing Indian: Manifest Manners, Simulation, and Pastiche

      Ying-wen Yu

6. William Apess: Storier of Survivance

      Arnold Krupat

7. As Long as the Hair Shall Grow: Survivance in Eric Gansworth's Reservation Fictions

      Susan Bernardin

8. The War Cry of the Trickster: The Concept of Survivance in Gerald Vizenor's Bear Island: The War at Sugar Point

      Alan Velie

9. Shifting the Ground: Theories of Survivance in From Sand Creek and Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57

      Linda Lizut Helstern

10. Total Apocalypse, Total Survivance: Nuclear Literature and/or Literary Nucleus--Melville, Salinger, Vizenor

      Takayuki Tatsumi

11. Facing the Wiindigoo: Gerald Vizenor and Primo Levi

      Joe Lockard

12. Tactical Mobility as Survivance: Bone Game and Dark River by Louis Owens

      John Gamber

13. Ghosts in the Gaps: Diane Glancy's Paradoxes of Survivance

      James Mackay

14. The Naked Spot: A Journey toward Survivance

      Diane Glancy

15. Survivance in the Works of Velma Wallis

      James Ruppert

16. Writing Survivance: A Conversation with Joseph Boyden

      Allan J. Ryan

17. A Lantern to See By: Survivance and a Journey into the Dark Heart of Oklahoma

      Jace Weaver

18. Survivance Memories: The Poetry of Carter Revard

      A. Robert Lee



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