The Native American in American Literature: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography

By Roger O. Rock | Go to book overview

Introduction: Beginning Literary Research on Native Americans

Research on American Indians poses some unusual problems for students of literature. Mainstream critical works in American literature that consider the literary treatment of the American Indian more frequently deal with the Indian as a subtopic than as a major focus of study, so one must learn to pay more attention to chapter headings than to book titles. Then, too, much of the scholarship involving Native American literature (Indian authors), and to some extent the treatment of Indians in literature, has not been accomplished by students of literature but by linguists, cultural anthropologists, educators, folklorists, historians and others whose domains fall outside the humanities. Consequently, conventional sources often have little pertinent information in them, while sources outside the discipline may offer a great deal of it.

The situation, of course, is changing. Indian literature is beginning to move toward the niche it deserves in American arts and letters, an Indian treatment in literature is being reappraised in the light of modern literary open-mindedness. But the works of the past remain a tangle. This bibliography and the others recommended in the preface and in the introduction to the "Native American Literature" section should steer researchers through most of the problems, but for those who want to "light out for Indian territory" on their own, here are some bits of wisdom on doing research on Indians in literature that were acquired the hard way.

Two of the most important names any researcher must know for doing any kind of research are Wilson and Bowker, publishers respectively of The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature ( 1900--) and Books in Print ( 1956--), which generally are the first two stops on any quest for basic information. "Indians, Bibliographies", "Indians in Literature", "Indian Literature", "Indian Legends", and "Indians, Folklore", are among relevant subject headings in both references. Not only do these books list virtually everything published for common consumption, but even the smallest of libraries is likely to have them.

-xv-

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The Native American in American Literature: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction: Beginning Literary Research on Native Americans xv
  • Bibliographies 3
  • The Indian in Literature 56
  • Native American Literature 99
  • Author Index 183
  • Subject Index 196
  • About the Compiler *
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