Identity and authenticity: Explorations in Native American and Irish literature and culture

Drucilla Mims Wall
Dept. of English, University of Nebraka, Lincoln
July, 2006


This collection explores of some of the many ways in which Native American, Irish, and immigrant Irish-American cultures negotiate the complexities of how they are represented as 'other,' and how they represent themselves, through the literary and cultural practices and productions that define identity and construct meaning. The core issue that each chapter examines is one of authenticity and the means through which this often contested and vexed notion is performed. The Irish and American Indian points of view which I explore are certainly not the only ones that shed light on this issue, but these are the ones I know best from my own life and studies. I have sought to combine main stream scholarly rigor with the ways of theorizing that reside within these two cultures, ways that have been excluded from the academy except in very limited and very recent forms. Literary criticism is combined with elements of personal essay in some chapters. In addition, the final chapter explores authenticity and identity through a chapbook collection of original poetry.