05 April 2011

Unreasonable Expectations

Martin Cruz Smith writes mystery novels. Although he is reputedly of Pueblo and Yaqui ancestry, his inclusion among prolific Native American writers often seems overlooked. His The Indians Won (1970) anticipates an alternate history of the Cold War if the United States had failed to subdue the tribes of the Plains after the Custer debacle. But his subsequent writing did not foreground Indian themes.

Jorge Luis Borges challenges the expectations that come along in efforts to define national literature, or that of a racial group.
I wish to note another contradiction: the nationalists pretend to venerate the capacities of the Argentine mind but wish to limit the poetic exercise of that mind to a few humble local themes, as if we Argentines could only speak of neighborhoods and ranches and not of the universe.
"The Argentine Writer and Tradition," in Selected Non-Fictions, 424
Because what I know of Argentine literature is limited to Borges, this lecture stimulates my thinking about other literatures: American, American Indian, Pacific Northwest Regional, ...

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