restricted access Power Literature and the Myth of Racial Memory
Abstract

This article argues that post-Civil Rights "Power literature" inspired a paradigm shift in the way separate group identities in the US could be politicized. Serving as an exemplary case, N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn (1968) theorizes a politically viable sense of collective identity by emplotting alternate origin stories, or myths, through the controversial device of racial memory. The racial memory trope made mythic in House Made of Dawn demonstrates how Power literature partakes in universalist methods homologous with those of universalist midcentury mythologists. Yet it does so to further separatist political ends, thereby making such a seeming dissonance productive.


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