Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition

By John G. Neihardt; Black Elk | Go to book overview

APPENDIX 6
John G. Neihardt and Nicholas Black Elk

Raymond J. DeMallie

Black Elk Speaks is arguably the single most widely read book in the vast literature relating to North American Indians. John G. Neihardt’s poetic rendering of the life story of an Oglala Lakota holy man captivates the imagination of readers, drawing them into a meaning-charged world of symbols and otherness. We come away from our experience of Black Elk through Neihardt not with analytical understanding of the old Lakota religious life, but, as Neihardt wrote after his first meeting with Black Elk, with insights into the holy man’s “inner world, imperfectly revealed as by flashes.” That experience, in Neihardt’s words, is for us, as it was for him, “both strange and wonderful” (BES, xvii).

The mystery of the intellectual and emotional bond that these two men recognized between one another, and that led to their creative collaboration, adds a very human dimension to the narrative. As Neihardt explained to Black Elk in a letter about the proposed book about his life, “I would use as much of your language in it as possible” (SG, 29).1 Indeed, Neihardt was so successful in blending his own voice with Black Elk’s that they became a single voice, a literary device so convincing that Neihardt faded into the background, allowing readers the sensation that Black Elk was speaking to them directly, without an intermediary.

Having grown up hunting buffalo, witnessing Custer’s demise at the Little Big Horn, experiencing visions and living as a medicine man, traveling with Buffalo Bill, and participating in the Ghost Dance and the aftermath of Wounded Knee, Black Elk’s life stretched back across the historical epoch that Neihardt celebrated in his epic poem, A Cycle of the West. Admittedly, when he first met Black Elk, Neihardt’s only intention was to gain a sense of what the Ghost Dance beliefs were like and how the ritual felt in order to infuse his Song of the Messiah with an emotional authenticity. But in that first meeting in August 1930, Black Elk offered

-242-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 369

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.