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B o o k Re v ie w s 2 0 9 as “The American Form of the Novel” (1927), “Censorship” (1930), and “Regionalism in American Fiction” (1932) reveal Austin’s considerable perspicacity as a literary critic, and many essays demonstrate Austin’s insight as a cultural critic on an even wider range of topics involving inter­ sections of art and political social theory. Ellis also provides more complete bibliographic reference to Austin’s entire body of magazine publication. The result is an impressive, readable volume that should do much to strengthen— and introduce new scholars to— current critical recovery of Austin’s significance in American literary history while also contributing substantially to more general literary study of the rise and significance of American magazine writing and writers in the early twentieth century. Feminist Readings of Native American Literature: Coming to Voice. By Kathleen M. Donovan. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998. 181 pages, $35.00/$19.95. Reviewed by Barbara J. Cook Utah State University In Feminist Readings of Native American Literature, Kathleen M. Donovan seeks to develop a dialogue between feminists and Native Americans. Among the many parallels that exist between Native American literature and fem­ inist literary and cultural theories, Donovan sees the issue of voice as the most fundamental issue raised by both literary fields. She asks, “Who can speak? and how? and under what circumstances? What can be said? And after the ideas find voice, what action can be taken?” (7-8). Donovan skill­ fully explores these issues and connections in Feminist Readings through a variety of lenses, including feminist literary and cultural theories, ethnogra­ phy, ethnopoetics, ecofeminism, and postcolonialism. Donovan examines a wide range of texts: the songs of the women in the masculine-dominated Havasupai society, which function as sites of resistance in that society; autobiographical novels of Canadian Métis women, which serve to help them find a voice and an identity; and the works of feminist the­ orist Hélène Cixous and Native American poet Joy Harjo, which Donovan believes reveals “a complex link between the self-reflexive nature of darkness and femaleness, the romance of the shadow” (143). Other chapters include an insightful look at N. Scott Momaday’s depiction of women in his novels (a depiction that Donovan finds disturbing), a comparison of the influence of oral tradition in the works of Paula Gunn Allen and Toni Morrison, and a perceptive analysis of the depth of control editor Lucullus Virgil McWhorter exerted over Mourning Dove’s novel, Cogewea: The Half Blood. Donovan connects these diverse chapters with a concern for “language, and the ways in which language shapes culture and identity” (13). She asserts that both Native American literature and feminist theory challenge 2 1 0 WAL 3 3 ( 2 ) SUMMER 1 9 9 8 the forms of language within a masculine discourse and that “new align­ ments are already being voiced across gendered and national borders, through the medium of storytelling, whether oral or written, which is, after all, the heart of resistance and continuance” (14). Donovan begins her exploration with an analysis of the autobiographies and autobiographical novels written by Beatrice Culleton, Maria Campbell, and Lee Maracle— Canadian women of mixed blood (Métis)— and looks at how these writings help their authors achieve voice through a reconciliation of multiple identities “inherent in persons who belong to more than one cul­ ture” (10). Grounding her discussion in the historical context of the Canadian Métis situation, Donovan looks at the patterns of strong resis­ tance to the patriarchal power of the colonizers that is reflected in the works of these Métis women and notes that Maracle and the other authors see “language as a key to identity formation and cultural transmission” (37). In her most provocative chapter, Donovan discusses the work of N. Scott Momaday, considered one of the most representative and recognizable authors of the “Native American Renaissance.” For her, Momaday’s “repre­ sentation of women characters raises disturbing issues” that ultimately act to disempower a female reader (11). She notes that Momaday does not “even attempt to sympathetically articulate the experiences of his contem­ porary women characters,” but instead “ he silences them” (74...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 209-211
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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