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358 Western American Literature writing, values, and character, for the woman’s voice has seldom been attended to by those describing our “collective” fantasies and “universal” theories. We may find eventually that the dichotomies are not so rigid as they appear during this necessary stage of exploration of women’s lives. It would be hard to claim that the generally obscure writers Kolodny discusses directly affected the female literary tradition, though their fantasies and attitudes were no doubt transmitted through women’s culture. If these women’s texts “offered comforting and familiar image systems that could serve as templates for the organization of experience,” what was lost when they were lost? Why did the female fantasies never “attain the status of cul­ tural myth”? This is a subject for another book. For now, Kolodny has demonstrated that the male texts do not tell the whole story of the imaginative response to the West, to the American landscape; the frontier dream needs to be revised. It is time—past time—for everyone to encounter both traditions, to listen to women’s desires “to announce their presence and imprint their dreams” in the West. The Land Before Her—imaginative, fully researched and documented, stylishly written—provides the opportunity. MELODY GRAULICH University of New Hampshire American Audio Prose Library. Columbia, Missouri. MM III 0583-R. N. Scott Momaday reads two poems and from The Names. American Audio Prose Library. MM III 0583. N. Scott Momaday Interview. American Audio Prose Library. N III 0982-R. John Nichols reads from two novels. American Audio Prose Library. NI II 0982. John Nichols Interview. American Audio Prose Library. WT III 0683-R. Frank Waters reads from The Man Who Killed the Deer. American Audio Prose Library. WT III 0683. Frank Waters Interview. Any opportunity to hear writers like N. Scott Momaday, John Nichols, and Frank Waters read from their works and discuss them is a worthwhile opportunity. And in this respect these American Audio Prose Library cas­ settes discourage criticism. Authors of such distinction as these, with such prominent voicings in their own novels and poetry, always tease readers into wondring just what the “real” authorial voice sounds like behind the many voicesheard in the reader’s imaginary ear when reading. This is especially true of N. Scott Momaday, who, like Dickens, does so many voices and does them so well and so impor­ tantly in his works The Way to Rainy Mountain and House Made of Dawn. Momaday’s actual voice is deep and resonant and powerful, and much like one might imagine. John Nichols sounds very much a product of the 1960s— Reviews 359 complete with the idioms of that era which have now been accepted into a language which is so dynamic that 60s talk seems quaintly out of fashion— leaving Nichols, one guesses, sounding more mellow and middle-aged and “compromised” than even he would like to admit. Frank Waters sounds all the wiser through the years which make their presence and his age known in raspings, and catches of breath;coughs and frequent pauses and breaks. One hundred years from now, ten years from now, these cassettes will be all the more valuable, not just for what they say but for how they say it. In listening to all of them in sequence, the interviewer’s voice becomes too prominent, too, alas, intrusive: a nuisance. All three writers are patient with this or that kind of mispronunciation, this or that inane question, this or that attempt in the name of the “project” to make them more “accessible,” more “understood.” We can’t help wishing for more tapes like the Nichols interview, where he takes over almost completely and the interviewer fades away. When they read their works these writers are at their best—except for Nichols who is in one big off-to-the-fire hurry to finish. His discussion of his political conversion, of politics and art is wonderful stuff, however. Waters is great in his prophecies for the future and in his discussion of myth and science. And Momaday is pure music, an utterly beautiful, perfect voice for the myths and narratives and the tellings we hear. So, these cassettes...


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pp. 358-359
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