Traditional literatures of the American Indian: texts and interpretations

Front Cover
Karl Kroeber
University of Nebraska Press, 1981 - Literary Criticism - 162 pages
In American Indian societies, storytelling and speech-making are invested with special significance, crafted to reveal central psychological and social values, tensions, and ambiguities. As Karl Kroeber notes, "It is our scholarship, not Indian storytelling, that is primitive, undeveloped."

This book is an essential introduction to the study and appreciation of American Indian oral literatures. The essays, by leading scholars, illuminate the subtle artistry of form and content that gives spoken stories and myths an enduring vitality in native communities yet often makes them perplexing to outsiders. The presentation and analysis of complete oral texts, often with translations, enable the reader to grasp the meaning, purpose, and structure of the tales and to become familiar with the techniques scholars use to translate and interpret them.

This expanded edition of the widely praised collection contains a recent analysis of Wintu myth of female sexuality, a revised introduction by Karl Kroeber, a contribution by Dell Hymes, a new translation by Dennis Tedlock, and a new, annotated bibliography.

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From Mythic to Fictive in a Nez Perc6 Orpheus
The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation
Poetic Retranslation and the Pretty Languages

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About the author (1981)

Karl Kroeber is a professor of English at Columbia University and the author of Retelling–Rereading: The Fate of Storytelling in Modern Times.

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