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By D. N. Mackenzie

First released in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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2 Native American Literature at the Political Turn The Emergence of Literary Nationalism What is the nature of Native American literature? What is it, exactly? What is the social function of Native American literature? What does, or should, it actually do? Despite a much-heralded “renaissance” in Native American writing that has brought international celebrity to a growing number of native writers and international attention to native issues and perspectives, there remains an important place in Native American literary criticism for unassuming questions like these.

The disjunction between historically 32 Politics and Aesthetics in Contemporary Native American Literature coexistent LMPs, then, may be synchronic—determined by the structural distribution of possible modes of literary production enabled by the social formation—or diachronic (determined by historical survivals). (45–6) This model calls to mind how literature and literary form are influenced by much more than culture, understood in the anthropological sense of the term. More specifically put, this model can account for formal hybridity—the “mixed-breed” character that Krupat fi nds in the contemporary Native American novel, for example—without turning to an essentialist ideology of culture, one that reduces culture to a given (fi xed) technology of production.

52) On this defi nition, one immediately discovers the enmeshed political and cultural interests that have sustained Krupat’s work from at least as early as 1989 with The Voice in the Margin: the creation of radically pluralist literary traditions (the inclusion of Native American literature in American and world literary canons) and the concomitant creation of a “polyvocal polity,” a kind of utopian international world order that Krupat imagines 18 Politics and Aesthetics in Contemporary Native American Literature by extending the Bakhtinian recognition of heteroglossia—the unavoidable inter-nesting of the languages of self and other—to the level of international relations.

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