Article

Indian Voices in Early American Literature

Joshua David Bellin

in The Oxford Handbook of Early American Literature

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195187274
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195187274.013.0012

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Indian Voices in Early American Literature

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The Indians whom English colonists encountered did not possess written languages, and it was not until the nineteenth century that significant numbers of Indian authors began to publish writings in English. This article traces the few Indian voices in early American Literature. What this means is that Indian “voices” in early American literature are mediated; they come to us not from the Indians themselves but through non-Indian writers. And these writers, whether or not they tried to present the Indians' words accurately, were limited by a number of factors. First, they were required to translate the Indians' words from their original languages into English. It is easy to see that Indian voices in early American literature are unlikely to be precise transcripts of what the Indians actually said. But the issue of cultural factor affects the reliability of Indian voices in early American literature. Clubbed with it were social, religious, and economic aspects which influenced American Literature.

Keywords: Indian voices; translations; transcripts; American literature; Indian authors

Article.  10207 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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