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A New Continent of Liberty

Eunomia in Native American Literature from Occom to Erdrich

Geoff Hamilton

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Englische Sprachwissenschaft / Literaturwissenschaft


Beginning with the writings of Samson Occom, and extending through a range of fiction and nonfiction works by William Apess, Sarah Winnemucca, Zitkala-Ša, N. Scott Momaday, Gerald Vizenor, and Louise Erdrich, Geoff Hamilton sketches a movement of gradual but resolute ascent in Native American literature. The history of this rich tradition of storytellers begins with desperate early efforts pitted against the historical realities of genocide and cultural annihilation. It moves to attempts to preserve any sense of self and community, and finally toward expressions of a resurgent autonomy that affirm new, indigenous models of what Hamilton labels as eunomia, a fertile blending of human and natural orders.

The first book to chart autonomy’s conceptual growth in Native American literature from the late eighteenth to the early twenty-first century, A New Continent of Liberty examines, against the backdrop of Euro-American Literature, how Native American authors have sought to reclaim and redefine distinctive versions of an ideal of self-rule grounded in the natural world.