Cover image for Voices from four directions : contemporary translations of the Native literatures of North America
Voices from four directions : contemporary translations of the Native literatures of North America
Swann, Brian.
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxii, 617 pages ; 26 cm
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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E98.F6 V665 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E98.F6 V665 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Storytelling and singing continue to be a vital part of community life for Native peoples today. Voices from Four Directions gathers stories and songs from thirty-one Native groups in North America--including the I#65533;upiaqs in the frigid North, the Lushootseeds along the forested coastline of the far West, the Catawbas in the humid South, and the Maliseets of the rugged woods of the East. Vivid stories of cosmological origins and transformation, historical events remembered and retold, as well as legendary fables can be found in these pages. Well-known Trickster figures like Raven, Rabbit, and Coyote figure prominently in several tales as do heroes of local fame such as Tom Laporte of the Maliseets. The stories and songs entertain, instruct, and recall rich legacies as well as obligations. Many are retellings and reinventions of classic narratives, while others are more recent creations.

Award-winning poet and critic Brian Swann has gathered some of the richest and most diverse literatures of Native North America and provides an introduction to the volume. In addition, each story is introduced and newly translated.

Author Notes

Brian Swann is on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. His many works include Coming to Light: Contemporary Translations of the Native Literatures of North America.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

A rich compilation of stories translated from the traditional literature of a variety of diverse cultures found throughout North America, this volume is an extension of the author's Coming to Light: Contemporary Translations of the Native Literatures of North America, which presents stories from a broader geographical focus. As the title implies, the new book is arranged by region and includes stories from Native American cultures in the North, West, South, and East. It begins with an informative introduction by the editor, and each piece is prefaced with an extensive essay by the individual translator providing an explanation of its origin and traditional significance, information about local storytellers and collectors, details of the translation techniques, notes on its orthography and pronunciation, as well as references and suggestions for further reading. The book concludes with a list of contributors and an index (not seen). Trickster tales, sagas, creation myths, fables, animal stories, songs, and poetry are included in this educational and enlightening book. Recommended for academic and large public libraries with collections in Native American literature. Eloise R. Hitchcock, Middle Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Murfreesboro (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Including representative translations from many different native cultures and storytellers, this volume follows up and extends Swann's outstanding edited volume Coming to Light: Contemporary Translations of the Native Literatures of North America (CH, Sep'95). Swann has assembled new translations and retranslations of noted examples of native oral traditions. These works are accompanied by introductions from the translators that discuss the dynamics of their translations, share their knowledge of the oral traditions with which they are working, explore the stylistics of the narratives, and provide a list of suggested readings. Swann organizes the volume geographically, starting with Koryak raven stories from Russia. All of the remaining stories are from North America, and Swann breaks them up into groups (North, West, South, and East, in that order). Reading through the volume, one gets an excellent introduction to the current state of the translation of Native oral literature and the ethical considerations surrounding translation. The narratives are illuminating and the collection solidly advances understanding of a complex and energetic field. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and their instructors; general readers. J. Ruppert University of Alaska Fairbanks

Table of Contents

Alexander D. King and PaqaNora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer and Willie Marks and Katherine Mills and Austin HammondLawrence Kaplan and Tadataka Nagai and Minnie GrayEdna Ahgeak MacLean and Ericklook and Lee SuvluJudith Berman and Umx'idRobert Bringhurst and GhandlJohn Enrico and Adam BellWendy Wickwire and Harry RobinsonCrisca Bierwert and Martha LamontVirginia Hymes and Larry GeorgeWilliam R. Seaburg and Coquelle Thompson Sr.Catherine A. Callaghan and James KnightKatherine Turner and Maria OcarpiaHerbert W. Luthin and Sam BatwiAmy Miller and an elder of the Quechan TribeM. Eleanor Nevins and Thomas J. NevinsPaul G. ZolbrodRex Lee Jim and Rex Lee JimHao HuangDavid KozakLuke Eric Lassiter and Ralph KotayWillard Walker and Willie JumperMary S. Linn and Jason Baird Jackson and Waxin Tiger and William CahweeBlair A. Rudes and Sally Brown Gordon and Margaret Wiley BrownJulian RiceJimm G. GoodTracks and Mary Gale LaFlescheIves Goddard and Alfred KiyanaMonica Macaulay and Marianne Milligan and Nyahto KichewanoRand Valentine and WaasaagoneshkangWallace Chafe and John ArmstrongHerbert S. LewisPhilip S. LeSourd and Charles LaporteJennifer Andrews and Robert M. Leavitt and E. Nagugwes MetallicJulie Brittain and Marguerite MacKenzie and John Peastitute
Introductionp. xiii
Part 1. Northp. 1
Raven Tales from Kamchatkap. 3
Raven Storiesp. 25
The Young Woman Who Disappearedp. 42
Two Children Adriftp. 51
Part 2. Westp. 81
Giverp. 83
The Sea Lion Hunterp. 105
The Blind Man at Island Point Town and the One Who Went around the Sea as a Halibutp. 121
Prophecy at Lyttonp. 134
Coyote and His Sonp. 171
Celilop. 195
Upper Coquille Athabaskan
Two Tales of Powerp. 209
Lake Miwok
How Coyote Remade the Worldp. 226
Miguelino Salinan
Snakep. 240
Young Blue Jay's Journey to the Land of the New Moonp. 244
Old Lady San[superscript y]u-xavp. 268
Part 3. Southp. 281
Western Apache
He Became an Eaglep. 283
The Flight of Dzilyi neeyanip. 303
Coyote Storiesp. 317
San Juan Pueblo-Tewa
The Oekuu Shadeh of Ohkay Owingehp. 327
Whirlwind Songsp. 340
The Red Wolf Storyp. 350
Thunder and the Uktenp. 357
Trickster Talesp. 368
Four Fablesp. 383
Part 4. Eastp. 395
Double-Face Tricks a Girlp. 397
Rabbit Frees the People from Muskratp. 408
Two Winter Storiesp. 423
Red Swanp. 468
The Birth of Nenabozhop. 486
Creation Storyp. 515
The Origins of Manp. 532
The Legendary Tom Laportep. 546
Three Storiesp. 561
Umayichisp. 572
List of Contributorsp. 591
Indexp. 603