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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article presents a discussion on American Indian elegy. It specifically deals with Gerald Vizenor's theorization of what is called ‘continuance and survivance — this latter term a compound of the notion of survival through resistance’. Native American writers regularly express a deep sense of loss in their work. Native narratives of continuance and survivance construct the past and the future very differently from Euramerican narratives of progress and dominance. The wide range of American Indian writing in the elegiac mode from the nineteenth century up to the present and the genre of Indian autobiography are described. Furthermore, several prose texts by Vizenor are addressed. Writing in the elegiac mode may be found in the work of many contemporary Native American poets.

Keywords: American Indian elegy, Gerald Vizenor, continuance, survivance, Euramerican narratives, American Indian writing

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