Stories Through Theories/Theories Through Stories: North American Indian Writing, Storytelling, and Critique

May 13th, 2011 | By | Category: 22-4: Honoring Student Success, Media Reviews

Edited by Gordon D. Henry Jr., Nieves Pascual Soler, and Silvia Martínez-Falquina
Michigan State University Press: East Lansing (2009)

Review by Ryan Winn

Stories Through Theories/Theories Through Stories is an invaluable text for scholars and courses that examine the relationship between American Indian writing and literary theory.

Equal in ambition to Louis Owens’s seminal work, Other Destinies: Understanding the American Indian Novel, this text begins with Henry’s essay, “Allegories of Engagement: Stories/Theories,” which both summarizes and examines the history of American Indian writers and the ways in which their texts engage with Western theoretical approaches. What follows are essays that explore the bonds between theory and story, as well as the relationships among the writers, the readers, and the critics of contemporary Indigenous writings.

This book also offers new approaches to thinking about the work of writers such as Gerald Vizenor, Simon Ortiz, and Thomas King, as well as about discourse on the role of the biographer and the storyteller.

This is an important work that would be a strong addition to libraries and courses whose patrons and scholars examine approaches to American Indian texts and how and why these texts were written.

Ryan Winn is an English, theatre, and communications instructor at College of Menominee Nation in Keshena and Green Bay, WI.

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