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2 2 4 WAL 3 5 .1 S u m m e r 2 0 0 0 Both ofthese ideas are carried out conscientiously inhis anthology. Overall, this is a useful resource to have for anyone who teaches American history or cultural studies and wishes to sample a variety of literary works in the classroom. The Lizard Speaks: Essays on the Writings of Frederick Manfred. Edited by Nancy Owen Nelson. Sioux Falls, S.Dak.: Center for Western Studies, 1998. 228 pages, $15.95. Reviewed by Gordon Johnston Three Rivers Community College According to the editor, the theme around which this collection is built is Manfred’s “innate connection to the primordial ‘lizard brain’ which is the center of the creative process” (vii). To Manfred, the “Old Lizard” (“intuition” is a useful but inadequate synonym) was the source of his voice as a writer; this theme also played out in his fiction in the actions of his characters. A master storyteller, Manfred wrote novels to explore our relationship to the land, our animal nature as a source of knowledge and power, our relationship to our ancestors and our cultural heritage, and the male/female duality of our inner selves. As Manfred’s voice developed, he explored all these themes as aspects of that primordial lizard brain. As is often the case with miscellaneous collections such as this, the qual­ ity is variable, and not all the essays clearly relate to the theme. Noteworthy contributors include Richard Bailey, who explores the lizard theme in relation to gender, and Mick McAllister, whose ‘“Wolf That I Am ...’: Animal Symbology in the Buckskin Man Tales” looks at wilderness as a place both out­ side and inside. Also worth noting are treatments of Flowers of Desire and Milk of Wolves, novels which remain obscure both because of their strangeness and because of their publishing histories. Joseph M. Flora’s reading of No Fun on Sunday, one of Manfred’s best nonhistorical novels, is certainly welcome; it is disappointing to see that The Man Who Looked Like thePrince ofWales, one of the finest short novels in midwestem literature, continues to be ignored. Teachers interested in introducing Manfred in the classroom should turn to Larry R. Juchartz’s essay on student responses to Lord Grizzly and to Hungarian-bom Olga Klekner’s “Hypnotized by a Reptile,” an account of her introduction as a student to American literature through Manfred’s The Golden Bowl. Also included is an excerpt from Freya Manfred’s memoir of her father. The completed work has since been published as Frederick Manfred: A Daughter Remembers, and most readers will want to read this powerful account in full. Lack of original citation information for reprinted pieces and the lack of author notes are serious oversights. While many of the authors here are wellknown scholars, others are not, and I would like to know what their creden­ tials are. B o o k R e v ie w s 2 2 5 Overall, this is not a major contribution to Manfred criticism, but Manfred scholars will certainly want to be aware of it. Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Woman behind the Legend. By John E. Miller. Colum bia: University of Missouri Press, 1998. 306 pages, $29.95. Reviewed by Diane D. Quantic W ichita State University John E. Miller’s biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a welcome addition to the growing body ofWilder scholarship. Wilder’s persistently popular eight-vol­ ume autobiography of her peripatetic childhood on the Great Plains, while intended for children, has become an integral part of the myth of the American West. By carrying Wilder’s story into adulthood in Missouri, Miller presents a comprehensive account of the Ingalls and Wilder families. A biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder presents some unique challenges. First, the “Little House” books are so well known that the reader is likely to anticipate the story the biographer is telling. To augment Wilder’s own story, Miller uses an unpublished autobiographical manuscript, family records, a vari­ ety of social histories of the frontier and local records from the various com­ munities where the family lived. He includes an account of the difficult years after they left Kansas...


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pp. 224-225
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