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Reviews 161 editor, and a commentator on social and political issues. Serious Western writers rebel against Harte because of his enormous influence on the Popular Western. Besides analyzing Harte’s fiction, poetry, and miscellaneous prose, Morrow dis­ cusses his neglected Condensed Novels and literary criticism. Less an indigenous Westerner than an Easterner (later an Englishman), Harte continues to retain in American literature “a secure and colorful niche.” Too often associated with frivolity or polemics, the paperback booklet really is an ideal literarv form. Falling between the journal article and the academic tome, the booklet can be to scholarship as "divine" as was the “blessed nouvelle" to HenryJames. A booklet carefully read in one sitting offers acoherent intellectual experience. In addition, the craft-conscious reader takes pleasure in watching the skillful scholar reconcile Procrustean format, rich matter, and absorbable man­ ner. At least Benjamin Franklin, that shrewd advocate of less is more, would smile on the new series, for in his day he pleaded for a law against booksellers similar to the one forbidding butchers “blowing a Veal to look fatter.” MAR TIN BUCCO, Colorado State University Oliver La Farge. By T. M. Pearce. (New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc.; TUSAS 191, 1972. 1‘54 pages, notes and references, selected bibliography, index.) Indian Man, A Life ofOliver La Farge. By D’Arcy McNickle. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1971. xlll + 237 pages, bibliographical source notes, index. S7.95.) Ofthe three parts into which Mr. Pearce divides his little book on La Farge the first is the least absorbing. Not that the subject’s life was dull. Probably it was the limited space which could be devoted to the events of a life in a text of a mere 134 pages which makes this section somewhat tedious. In it facts abound: a New England boyhood, school days at Groton, anthropology at Harvard, summer trips to the Navajo reservation, ethnological studies at Tulane and in Central America, the early success of Laughing Boy, marriage, with its social whirl and subsequent divorce, life-long work and death in Santa Fe. In recounting all these things Pearce dutifully subordinates his own personality. But in Part Two Mr. Pearce comes into his own. His summaries and evalua­ tions of the works of La Farge as a writer of fiction put Pearce on familiar ground. His many years in the English department at the University of New Mexico in the heart of the Indian country of the Southwest prepared him for a sympathetic understanding of La Farge’s rather fierce presentations of Indian life. Pearcesees the poet in La Farge as he brings Sings Before Spears and Slim Girl together at the ceremonial fire in Laughing Boy. And he appreciates the insight which created the basic conflict as Slim Girl “moves between the world of the white man and the Indian. Laughing Boy moves in the Indian world alone.” Pearce saw La Farge’s problem of adjusting the behavior of the two lovers to both Indian and white backgrounds. He notes that there is “no word in Navajo for romance', for love the Navajo makes use of the term for best plus the term for sexual intercourse." The insight here is probably owing to La Farge’s sustained interest in ethnology. Pearce sees the mythological search for a trail of beauty among the Navajos as helping to create a feeling of “oneness”of “Wholeness”in La Farge in place of the 162 Western American Literature “separateness”which was natural to the writer. To La Farge the artist’s search for beauty expresses itself in the writer’ssearch for truth. This truth is more real to La Farge writing about Navajos because of his involvement in ethnology. One byone Pearce takes up the other novels written by La Farge and makes us aware that the writer never abandoned his viewpoint as an ethnologist. This same concern is apparent in the short stories, such as “All the Young Men” and “The Happy Indian Laughter,” chillingly apparent in the latter. Part Three of the book deals with La Farge’s considerable achievement in what he regarded as the “inexact science” of ethnology. His status in this field, nevertheless, may be suggested in...


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pp. 161-163
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