Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

Now I Know Only So Far: Essays in Ethnopoetics

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

Now I Know Only So Far: Essays in Ethnopoetics

Article excerpt

Hymes, Dell. Now I Know Only So Far: Essays in Ethnopoetics. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003, 512 pp. ISBN 0-8032-7335-5 Paper $29.95.

Ethnopoetics has at least two lives. The first animates the creative response of artists to the art of non-literate cultures, and is a particularly powerful engagement in avant-garde circles. The second, a well-established specialization within linguistic anthropology, encompasses the analysis and interpretation of narrative and poetic expression in oral cultures.

Over a period of many years, Dell Hymes has made a defining contribution to anthropological linguistics. Now an emeritus of the University of Virginia, having previously taught at Pennsylvania, Berkeley and Harvard, he has amassed a lifetime's work of significant intellectual reach. His thinking extends forward from Boas, enriched especially by Habermas, to open the study of oral narrative to an appreciation of its expressive-stylistic and aesthetic. Hymes' insight that language patterns are in some measure determinative for thought patterns, has formed a significant component of the response to Chomsky over the years.

Now I Only Know So Far is a compilation of previously published articles dealing largely with the oral culture of the Chinookan peoples of the northwest. Remarkably consistent as a body of work, the collection ranges across a breadth of topics. …

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