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A New Continent of Liberty

Eunomia in Native American Literature from Occom to Erdrich
Geoff Hamilton

BUY Cloth · 220 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813942445 · $55.00 · Apr 2019
BUY Ebook · 220 pp. · ISBN 9780813942469 · $55.00 · Apr 2019
BUY Paper · 220 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813942452 · $24.50 · Apr 2019

Beginning with the writings of Samson Occom, and extending through a range of fiction and nonfiction works by William Apess, Sarah Winnemucca, Zitkala-Ša, N. Scott Momaday, Gerald Vizenor, and Louise Erdrich, Geoff Hamilton sketches a movement of gradual but resolute ascent in Native American literature. The history of this rich tradition of storytellers begins with desperate early efforts pitted against the historical realities of genocide and cultural annihilation. It moves to attempts to preserve any sense of self and community, and finally toward expressions of a resurgent autonomy that affirm new, indigenous models of what Hamilton labels as eunomia, a fertile blending of human and natural orders.

The first book to chart autonomy’s conceptual growth in Native American literature from the late eighteenth to the early twenty-first century, A New Continent of Liberty examines, against the backdrop of Euro-American Literature, how Native American authors have sought to reclaim and redefine distinctive versions of an ideal of self-rule grounded in the natural world.


This book is without a doubt an original, substantial contribution to both Native American and American literary studies, as well as to the pedagogy of both. Hamilton not only deepens and broadens our understanding of the implicit dialogue between Native and non-Native art but also offers a valuable perspective on American autonomy as a foundational ideal.

Catherine Rainwater, St. Edward’s University, editor of Leslie Marmon Silko's Storyteller: New Perspectives

A New Continent of Liberty is an interesting and important long-look engagement with the social and cultural development of Native and non-Native American literature and the dual politics from which they emerge. An excellent addition for scholars and students of comparative literary analysis who examine works from the U.S. and Native Nations as well American literature, history, and philosophy more broadly.

Theodore Van Alst, Portland State University, author of Sacred Smokes

About the Author(s): 

Geoff Hamilton, who teaches humanities at Medicine Hat College in Alberta, Canada, is the author of The Life and Undeath of Autonomy in American Literature (Virginia).

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