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Reviews165 ethnopoetics. One might ask why this work needs to happen. Who are these translations for? Not one of the essays included in this volume is by a Native American ethnolinguist or literary theorist. Swann answers his own question, "Who benefits by translation, or essays such as those collected here?" with the answer, "I hope that we all will benefit from this collection" (p. xvii). In spite of Swann's desire to serve the Native community in an act of "reparation" (p. xvii), I fail to see how most of these essays serve any but the (very small) scholarly community that generates them. Several of these essays (like that of Berman) seem more self-conscious about what their scholarly project entails. However, many simply point to the dangers of cultural imperialism then go on to reenact it by privileging the translator's position as one of authority and expertise and keeping the native culture being studied at arm's length, as some species of the exotic. There are alternatives to the ethnopoetic approach of On the Transiten of Native American Literatures, such as the work of Nora Dauenhauer (a Tlingit native) and her linguist husband, Richard Dauenhauer. Together, they are working on a series of texts on the Tlingit oral tradition. This collaboration speaks encouragingly to those interested in the preservation of Native cultures. The Dauenhauers show how the voices of Native Americans should guide the canonization process of the texts of the oral tradition, creating a body of texts neither permanent nor monumental, but provisional and situated within the community that produced them. As the formerly muted voices of Native Americans become engaged in the work of self-representation, the field of ethnopoetics will expand and grow to become a more truly multicultural enterprise. University of New MexicoAnna Carew-Miller Literary Theory After Davidson, edited by Reed Way Dasenbrock; xii & 316 pp. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993, $45.00 cloth, $16.95 paper. Most philosophers need no introduction to Donald Davidson's work. Most literary theorists and critics do. The primary aim of this volume is to provide such an introduction to the latter group. It succeeds admirably at this. It succeeds, as well, at giving philosophers who need one an introduction to contemporary literary theory. The various attempts to explain how Davidson's work may be instructively applied to issues of interest to literary theorists and critics—and, sometimes, how Davidson's work falls short—engage philosophers on familiar conceptual terrain: meaning, truth, interpretation, rational- 166Philosophy and Literature ity, relativism, causation, intention, action. When philosophers curious about literary theory dip into literature, they often find themselves feeling as though they have stumbled into the middle of a conversation whose subject matter is difficult to locate. Dipping into this volume, they may start widi the familiar and move on from there. Ofthe volume's fourteen essays, four are authored by philosophers: Davidson, Bill Martin, Shekhar Pradhan, Samuel Wheeler. The odier contributors, with the exception of Michael Morton, a Germanist, are members of English departments: Steven Cole, Reed Dasenbrock (who produced both an instructive introduction and a separate essay), Allen Dunn, Michael Fischer (responding to the other essays), Mark Gaipa, David Gorman, Thomas Kent, Paisley Livingston, Robert Scholes. Many of Davidson's best-known essays are collected in two volumes: Essays on Actions and Events (1980) and Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984). Predictably, the latter has exerted the greater influence on die essays that appear here, focusing as it does on topics ofmore immediate interest to literary theorists and critics. However, Dunn and Livingston address central themes in Davidson's work in the philosophy of action. Dunn is skeptical about the utility ofDavidson's causal theory ofaction-explanation for literary criticism. Livingston provides an excellent account of the integration of Davidson's work on action with his work on interpretation. In addition to advancing interesting criticisms of Davidson's view of rationality, Livingston makes a telling case for the relevance of Davidson's work to a variety of literary concerns, including a proper understanding of the act of writing itself. Several of the essays employ Davidsonian ideas and arguments in undermining opinions advanced by prominent literary theorists and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 165-167
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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