Conversations with N. Scott Momaday

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 237 pages
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When his first novel House Made of Dawn was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1969, N. Scott Momaday was virtually unknown. Today he is the most acclaimed Native American writer, working at the peak of his creative power and gaining stature also as an important painter. His first retrospective was held in 1993 at the Wheel-wright Museum in Santa Fe.

The son of a Kiowa artist and a Cherokee-Anglo mother, Momaday synthesizes multiple cultural influences in his writing and painting. While much of his attention focuses on the difficult task of reconciling ancient traditions with modern reality, his work itself is an example of how the best of the Indian and non-Indian worlds can be arranged into a startling mosaic of seemingly contradictory cultural and artistic elements.

Momaday sees his writings as one long, continuous story, a working out of his evolving identity as a modern Kiowa. It is a story grounded in the oral tradition of his ancestors and told in the modes of the traditional storyteller and the modern novelist-poet who is steeped in the best writings of American and European literature.

The interviews in this volume span the period from 1970 to 1993. Momaday responds candidly to questions relating to his multicultural background, his views on the place of the Indian in American literature and society, his concern for conservation and an American land ethic, his theory of language and the imagination, the influences on his artistic and academic development, and his comments on specific works he has written.

The reader who joins these conversations will meet in N. Scott Momaday a careful listener and an engaging, often humorous speaker whose commentaries provide a deeper vision for those interested in his life and work.

 

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Contents

An Interview with N Scott Momaday Lee Abbott
19
A Conversation with N Scott Momaday Lawrence J Evers
36
N Scott Momaday Wm T Morgan Jr
45
An Interview with N Scott Momaday Gretchen Bataille
57
Interview with N Scott Momaday Gretchen Bataille
64
N Scott MomadayA Slant
87
An Interview with N Scott
96
An Interview with N Scott
111
N Scott MomadayLiterature and
149
N Scott Momaday Laura Coltelli
157
Storyteller Dag mar We Her
168
N Scott Momaday Louis Owens
178
A Conversation with N Scott
192
Interview with N Scott Momaday Camille Adkins
216
Index
235
Copyright

Interview Kay Bonetti
130

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About the author (1997)

Navarre Scott Momaday was born on February 27, 1934 in Lawton, Okla. to Kiowa parents who successfully bridged the gap between Native American and white ways, but remained true to their heritage. Momaday attended the University of New Mexico and earned an M.A and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1963. A member of the Gourd Dance Society of the Kiowa Tribe, Momaday has received a plethora of writing accolades, including the Academy of American Poets prize for The Bear and the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for House Made of Dawn. He also shared the Western Heritage Award with David Muench in 1974 for the nonfiction book Colorado: Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring, and he is the author of the film adaptation of Frank Water's novel, The Man Who Killed the Deer. His work, The Names is composed of tribal tales, boyhood memories, and family histories. Another book, The Way to Rainy Mountain, melds myth, history, and personal recollection into a Kiowa tribe narrative. Throughout his writings, Momaday celebrate his Kiowa Native American heritage in structure, theme, and subject matter, often dealing with the man-nature relationship as a central theme and sustaining the Indian oral tradition.

Matthias Schubnell is a professor of English at the University of the Incarnate Word.

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