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The Uneven Development of the Bildungsroman: D'Arcy McNickle and Native American Modernity

The Uneven Development of the Bildungsroman: D'Arcy McNickle and Native American Modernity Abstract The European Bildungsroman since its emergence at the end of the eighteenth century has been the great genre of socialization. Beginning with Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre , the Bildungsroman has narrated the story of a protagonist willingly or unwillingly renouncing his or her individualism in order to become part of a social whole. D'Arcy McNickle's The Surrounded , I contend, resignifies the story of the relationship of the individual to society that is the primary element of the narrative formula of the Bildungsroman . Rather than illustrating the renunciation of individualism as it was often imagined in European novels, The Surrounded takes up the complicated nature of socialization in the colonial context of Native America in the early twentieth century. While Archilde Leon, the novel's protagonist, ultimately desires socialization and integration into tribal society, the colonial fragmentation experienced by the novel's Salish community makes that socialization impossible. By adapting the Bildungsroman to represent this historical situation, McNickle's novel forces us to rethink theories of the genre that have focused primarily on the European case. In the somewhat unorthodox final section of the essay, I argue that economic theories of uneven development illuminate why McNickle's novel transforms the Bildungsroman as it does. It is my claim that theories of uneven development, while at first glance seemingly unrelated to questions of literary history, help explain why writers from the colonial spaces of modernity do not have to reproduce the social logics of Euro-American modernity even when they take up one of its most canonical literary forms. CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? « Previous | Next Article » Table of Contents This Article doi: 10.1215/00104124-1335754 Comparative Literature 2011 Volume 63, Number 3: 291-306 » Abstract Full Text (PDF) References Classifications Article Services Email this article to a colleague Alert me when this article is cited Alert me if a correction is posted Similar articles in this journal Similar articles in Web of Science Download to citation manager Citing Articles Load citing article information Citing articles via Web of Science Google Scholar Articles by Lima, E. Related Content Load related web page information Social Bookmarking CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? Current Issue Summer 2011, 63 (3) Alert me to new issues of Comparative Literature Duke University Press Journals ONLINE About the Journal Editorial Board Submission Guidelines Permissions Advertising Indexing / Abstracting Privacy Policy Subscriptions Library Resource Center Activation / Acct. Mgr. E-mail Alerts Help Feedback © 2011 by University of Oregon Print ISSN: 0010-4124 Online ISSN: 1945-8517 var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-5666725-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

The Uneven Development of the Bildungsroman: D'Arcy McNickle and Native American Modernity

Comparative Literature , Volume 63 (3) – Jun 20, 2011

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-1335754
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Abstract

Abstract The European Bildungsroman since its emergence at the end of the eighteenth century has been the great genre of socialization. Beginning with Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre , the Bildungsroman has narrated the story of a protagonist willingly or unwillingly renouncing his or her individualism in order to become part of a social whole. D'Arcy McNickle's The Surrounded , I contend, resignifies the story of the relationship of the individual to society that is the primary element of the narrative formula of the Bildungsroman . Rather than illustrating the renunciation of individualism as it was often imagined in European novels, The Surrounded takes up the complicated nature of socialization in the colonial context of Native America in the early twentieth century. While Archilde Leon, the novel's protagonist, ultimately desires socialization and integration into tribal society, the colonial fragmentation experienced by the novel's Salish community makes that socialization impossible. By adapting the Bildungsroman to represent this historical situation, McNickle's novel forces us to rethink theories of the genre that have focused primarily on the European case. In the somewhat unorthodox final section of the essay, I argue that economic theories of uneven development illuminate why McNickle's novel transforms the Bildungsroman as it does. It is my claim that theories of uneven development, while at first glance seemingly unrelated to questions of literary history, help explain why writers from the colonial spaces of modernity do not have to reproduce the social logics of Euro-American modernity even when they take up one of its most canonical literary forms. CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? « Previous | Next Article » Table of Contents This Article doi: 10.1215/00104124-1335754 Comparative Literature 2011 Volume 63, Number 3: 291-306 » Abstract Full Text (PDF) References Classifications Article Services Email this article to a colleague Alert me when this article is cited Alert me if a correction is posted Similar articles in this journal Similar articles in Web of Science Download to citation manager Citing Articles Load citing article information Citing articles via Web of Science Google Scholar Articles by Lima, E. Related Content Load related web page information Social Bookmarking CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? Current Issue Summer 2011, 63 (3) Alert me to new issues of Comparative Literature Duke University Press Journals ONLINE About the Journal Editorial Board Submission Guidelines Permissions Advertising Indexing / Abstracting Privacy Policy Subscriptions Library Resource Center Activation / Acct. Mgr. E-mail Alerts Help Feedback © 2011 by University of Oregon Print ISSN: 0010-4124 Online ISSN: 1945-8517 var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-5666725-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview();

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jun 20, 2011

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