Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Sights and Sounds
American Indian Autobiography provides significant insight into the nature and production of Indian autobiographies, past and present. Aware of the heterogeneity of native cultures, H. David Brumble perceptively demonstrates the continuity of these works with both their cultural and literary roots -- oral narrative. He elucidates six genera of oral narrative, convincingly establishing their continuity from the earliest to contemporary works. Stressing the bicultural nature of Indian autobiography, Brumble carefully analyzes both the effect of white editors working within the cultural assumptions of their eras in eliciting and shaping Indian autobiographies and the ramifications of culture contact and adaptation on the part of the Indians in shaping their narratives. Brumble fruitfully contrasts the Indian self as tribal and kin enmeshed with the modern Western self, independent and individualistic. He sees the essence of preliterate autobiography as the reciting of one's adult deeds rather than the contemporary (since Rousseau) project of explaining how the author came to be who he/she is.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1991