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342 WesternAmerican Literature Gerald Vizenor, David Moore on “postcolonial praxis”in Silko and Young Bear, and Shamoon Zamir on Leslie Silko. Part III: ETHNOCRITIQUES includes Greg Sards on Elizabeth Colson and “hearing the old ones talk,”Jana Sequoya on “how (!) is an Indian?: a contest of stories,” Clifford Trafzer on “the first history of the Americas,”Katherine McNamara on “writing and meaning in the work of Peter Kalifomsky,” Kathleen Danker on Felix White, Sr. and the Winnebago trickster, and Crisca Bierwert on “the translative commentary of MartinJ. Sampson.” The selections demonstrate an unusual awareness of the interaction be­ tween performance and text, author and translator, Native correspondent and academic reader, teacher and student, and contributor, editor, and even advi­ sory board member. Krupat writes that “some students of Native American literatures, in common with most of those who study the cultural expression of other marginalized or subordinated groups in America, increasingly have shown acute concern for the usefulness of their work not only to their col­ leagues, but as well to those about whom they speak.” It is this sense of multifarious “consultation” that adds unexpected density and texture to this excellent collection. GRETCHEN RONNOW Wayne State College White Captives: Gender and Ethnicity on the American Frontier. By June Namias. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993. 378 pages, $39.95/ $16.95.) June Namias’new book on the histories, stories, and visual representations of Indian captivity in North America from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries participates in the recent resurgence ofinterest in captivity narratives among historians and literary critics. The book is an impressive compilation of evidence of how compelling Euro-Americans have found such stories over the past three hundred and more years. Stories of captivity are a cornerstone of “the Western”as a genre, up to and including popular novels and western films of the mid-twentieth century. Their long history is a vivid reminder that the ethnocentric construction of a “western frontier” has an equally long history as a site for territorial and racial contests, going as far back in time as the seventeenth century and in space to the inland forests of the eastern seaboard. Captivity materials invite analysis of the role gender played in their prolif­ eration, for while more white men than women were captured and held by Indians during the centuries of territorial contention, it is most often the stories of women’s captivities that are revisited, reproduced, and refigured. Accord­ ingly, Namias devotes a considerable portion of the book to scrutinizing the Reviews 343 various ways gender is inscribed in stories ofwomen’s captivities. The desirable next step would be to explain how these gender inscriptions served developing cultural needs and beliefs; however, a careful critical analysis of the cultural work performed by the stories is precisely what Namias’book fails to sustain. The vast array ofcaptivitymaterials Namias assembles for review—historical narratives, fictions, paintings, sculpture, dime novels, parlor book fables and illustrations—is at once the book’s greatest contribution and the source of its greatest difficulty. The sheer volume of material she tries to cover leads her often into inaccuracies and inconsistencies, and finally undermines her efforts to organize and control her material in order to develop a coherent argument. White Captives is nevertheless the first book to investigate captivity materials through the lens of contemporary race and gender studies and accompanying re-visions of American cultural history. I wish Namias had organized her mate­ rial in a more orderly and efficient way: I wish she had sustained a coherent version of the argument that pops up erratically throughout the book. The fact that she promises more than she delivers is a disappointment; her book does, though, point the waytoward more thorough investigations of race and gender in captivity materials, investigations to which it also will no doubt contribute. REBECCA BLEVINS FAERY Harvard University DarkMatter. ByChristopher Buckley. (Providence, Rhode Island: Copper Beech Press, 1993. 64 pages, $9.95.) Jacaranda and palmetto. Eucalyptus and bougainvillaea. Mastodons graz­ ing in Central Park, recalled after one hundred thousand years. The perseid shower over Wyoming. Crab nebulae. A caucus of dust . . . arriving on the shirttails of a comet. The flotsam ofnature...


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