Studies in the Literary Achievement of Louise Erdrich, Native American Writer. Fifteen Critical Essays

Author: Sawhney, Brajesh

Awarded the Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship
The fifteen essays gathered in this volume, written by leading scholars of Native American literature, explore Native American and German-American Louis Erdrich’s fiction from multiple perspectives, offering creative and cultural contexts, thematic considerations and close reading of some of her recent novels.


“. . . [these essays] keep apace with Erdrich’s growing and evolving position as a cultural mediator. Her work continues to explore that intersection between native experience and mainstream American experience with the hope of opening up more space for a Native worldview to flourish. As she pushes into new genres and new forms, Erdrich reminds us that great artists always push our understanding and appreciations. The essays in this collection help us keep up with her development. Another exciting aspect of the collection is the inclusion of emerging scholars ready to bolster the ranks of established voices in the field of Erdrich Studies. In the hands of all of these able scholars, Erdrich’s work finds enrichment, and endurance. This collection is a must for any serious student of Native American literature and especially Erdrich’s fiction. It is especially rewarding and illuminating.” – Prof. James Ruppert University of Alaska Fairbanks

“. . . noteworthy scholars, along with several emerging scholars, offer perspectives on Erdrich not yet seen in the field.” – Prof. Rebecca Tillett, University of East Anglia

“. . . provides new readings of Erdrich’s texts through the application of significant critical concepts, including gender performance, trauma theory, postcolonial theory, French feminist theory, dialogism, and Barthes’s notion of the ‘authorless’ text. Significantly, these readings also clearly trace the meanings that such theories might have when repositioned within specific Native worldviews. In this context, a range of western viewpoints - including nineteenth century medical knowledge, the grotesque, imperial concepts of naming, captivity narratives, the meaning and interpretation of the frontier, and concepts of authorial individuality and originality - are subject to detailed interrogation. Most importantly, these western viewpoints are then firmly re-located within Native epistemologies, such as the communal ‘authoring’ of texts within an oral tradition, the significance of the animal and spirit worlds, conceptualizations of death and dying, and notions of ‘home’. In this context, Erdrich’s more recent works are analyzed as sites of intersection between indigenous concepts and worldviews, and Euro-American stylistic conventions.” – Prof. Kimberly Roppolo, University of Lethbridge

"The collection is notable for the range of scholarly approaches represented, from cultural and gender studies to trauma theory and considerations of intertextual connections with dominant culture works often dubbed 'writing back to the center'" -- Prof. Linda Lizut Helstern, North Dakota University