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Indiani d'America oggi

Numero 9

Inverno 1997- Anno IV

enlightened Indiani d'America oggi: Sherman Alexie, N.S. Momaday, Joy Harjo

enlightened Paul Auster

enlightened Donne nere e diritti civili



"Me Indian, you Italian". Incontro con Sherman Alexie – pag. 4

Sherman Alexie

In this interview in public, Spokane author Sherman Alexie describes his upbringing on the reservation (speaking of poverty, family, games) and the almost accidental origins of his vocation as a writer and storyteller (he wanted to be a doctor but could not stand the touch of corpses). He stresses the importance of humor both as a resource in difficult living conditions, and as an expressive tool of Native American culture, and exemplifies it in his performance. He also discusses such themes as the distance between Native American authors and the American mainstream, the tensions between conservation and change in the Native American communities, the role of religion, and his own relationship to an earlier generation of native American authors.

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Indiani d'America oggi

Per una teoria del romanzo indiano-americano – pag. 9

Giorgio Mariani

Native American Novels are often read as tales of personal as well as collective, mythic survival. However, the individual and the communitarian selves are commensurable only in what György Luckács identifies as the precapitalist, “organic” world of the epic. Moving from the premise that the reality inscribed in contemporary Indian texts is a post-tribal, rather than a properly tribal one, the essay advances a theory of the Native American novel as a form of post-tribal epic, and offers a different reading of Vizenor’s The Heirs of Columbus. It suggests that even post-modern Indian literature is concerned with classical epic themes such as the search for origins, the question of totality, the projection of a supraindividual identity.

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Sull"'indianità" del bingo: il gioco d'azzardo e le comunità native americane – pag. 21

Paul Pasquaretta

Gambling on American Indian reservations has been the object of much public and media attention, both in the US and elsewhere. Such interest has focused mainly on its economic and legal aspects. Gambling, however, has also deeply affected the Native American community and contributed to the ongoing transformation of its identities. Through a discussion of the divergent impact of reservation casinos among the Akwesasne Mohawks and the Mashantucket Pequots the essay argues that the question remains open on whether gambling can provide a means to support the independence of Indian Communities, or else bring about their complete assimilation.

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L'Orsa Maggiore di N. Scott Momaday: il disegno mitico di The Ancient Child – pag. 36

Cinzia Biagiotti

In The ancient Child Kiowa writer N. Scott Momaday links the narrative process and the mythic dimension of traditional Native American storytelling to the figurative process. The novel is divided into four chapters “Planes”, “Lines”, “Shapes” and “Shadows”, the structural elements of composition in painting. In order to recover his physical/ spiritual balance, Indian identity, and creative imagination as an artist, the protagonist – a mixed-blood successful painter long separated from his tribal origin – follows the basic rules of painting he learned at the Art Academy. He identifies the planes of his personal history, finds the semantic lines connecting the elements of his past, gives them shape and sensorial power, and transforms them into multi-dimensional shapes exploring them to reach a better understanding of his own self, and place in his family history and in the mythic history of his tribe.

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Una frontiera culturale: ricercatori e indiani d'America – pag. 48

Daniele Fiorentino

The most recent debate on native American history and culture has concentrated on cultural interaction in what Richard White has termed “The Middle Ground”. Following the lead of anthropology, historians, literary critics, and sociologists have concentrated their attention on the processes of acculturation where different cultures of both European and American origins meet. Literary critics especially have raised the problem of interpretation of native american cultures, as in the Littlefield-Krupat debate. Fiorentino’s essay takes into consideration new critical approaches to the study of native American culture, highlighting the relationship of author, text, and context in recent work of interpretation. The article covers the last six years completing and updating a previous critical essay published in 1988 in “Storia Nordamericana” by the title Recovering Time and Space: History, Ethnohistory, Anthropology, and the Writing of American Indian History.

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Testo a Fronte

She Had Some Horses: sei poesie di Joy Harjo – pag. 58

Laura Coltelli, Joy Harjo
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L'apoteosi del caso: nella costellazione metropolitana di Paul Auster – pag. 70

Mauro Pala

Pala’s essay analyses Paul Auster’s opus, which is centered on the metropolitan experience, adapting Walter Benjamin’s approach to the modern city to the contemporary literary image of postmodern New York. Following, in a way, Auster’s steps (one of his work’s titles is The Music of Chance), Pala reads the metropolitan experience along the theoretical poles of “music” – organization and harmony – and “chance” – transformation and discontinuity. Pala also shows that in Auster’s later works, Smoke and Blue in the Face, the alienation of the individual seems overcome through experiences of solidaristic relations.

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Le donne come portatrici di cultura nel movimento per i diritti civili: Fannie Lou Hamer – pag. 82

Bernice Johnson Reagon

The life, work, and voice of Mississippi civil rights activist Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer are an example of how cultural transmission carried African American ideas and world views through time and fed them into the civil rights movement. The inspiring stories, speeches, and songs of Fannie Lou Hamer, amply quoted in the essay, are an integral part of the commitment which, along with organizing the community to register to vote, made her a national figure in the struggle for freedom. She drew inspiration and language from the Bible and from the spirituals, always retained her independence and passion, did not allow violence to turn her back, and rejected political compromises that did not include her vision. While proud and independent as a woman, she was also aware and critical of the class and race divisions that plagued the women’s movement.

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