December 31, 2009

Intersection of Fantasy & Native America

Intersection of Fantasy & Native America
From H.P. Lovecraft to Leslie Marmon Silko

Edited by Amy H. Sturgis and David D. Oberhelman
A number of contemporary Native American authors incorporate elements of fantasy into their fiction, while several non-Native fantasy authors utilize elements of Native America in their storytelling. Nevertheless, few experts on fantasy consider American Indian works, and few experts on Native American studies explore the fantastic in literature. Now an international, multi-ethnic, and cross-disciplinary group of scholars investigates the meaningful ways in which fantasy and Native America intersect, examining classics by American Indian authors such as Louise Erdrich, Gerald Vizenor, and Leslie Marmon Silko, as well as non-Native fantasists such as H.P. Lovecraft, J.R.R. Tolkien, and J.K. Rowling. Thus these essayists pioneer new ways of thinking about fantasy texts by Native and non-Native authors, and challenge other academics, writers, and readers to do the same.

Praise for Intersection of Fantasy and Native America

The essays in Sturgis and Oberhelman’s The Intersection of Fantasy and Native America open our eyes to the kinship between families of literature hitherto seen as separate--fantasy and Native American fiction--showing their interconnections in subject matter, in techniques of dream and trance and magical realism and post-modern meta-narrative, and most importantly, in their ability to penetrate appearances in search of underlying truths. The result is that we see each in light of the other and both as parts of the larger, so-called “mainstream,” and as essential to our understanding of literature, its writers and readers, in the 21st century.

—Verlyn Flieger, Professor of English, University of Maryland at College Park, Author of Interrupted Music, A Question of Time, and Splintered Light

With excellent and accessible scholarship, this book opens wide the door of Native American mythology and fantasy by connecting it with the fantasy many of us already know and love.

—Travis Prinzi, Author of Harry Potter and Imagination and editor of Hog’s Head Conversations
Comment:  People may see these genres as separate, but creators have often used Natives and Native lore in fantasy fiction. Examples range from Peter Pan to Indiana Jones-style movies to any number of horror stories. The latest examples include Twilight and Avatar, of course. In fact, the association is so commonplace that most people believe Indian legends are like Paul Bunyan stories, not religious texts a la the Bible.

For more on the subject, see No Natives in Science Fiction? and The Best Indian Books.

Below:  Tiger Lily in Peter Pan--an early example of Natives in fantasy fiction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It will be great to watch Peter Pan, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.