"The editor performs a magnificent job of guiding readers through the literary and historical context necessary to appreciate this rewarding memoir. . . . A must-read for anyone interested in the history and literature of Native Americans and American women."--Carolyn Sorisio, West Chester University
This first scholarly edition of the writings of a unique Native American woman details an extraordinary life in a combination of genres including oral history, ethnography, and western adventure sketches. Narcissa Owen was of mixed Cherokee and Scots-Irish descent and the daughter of a leader of the Old Settlers (those Cherokees who moved west prior to their subsequent forced removal by the U.S. government, the notorious Trail of Tears).
The Memoirs reveal a fascinating and complex 19th-century womanâ€”an artist, music teacher, storyteller, Confederate slave owner, Washington socialite, wife of a white railroad executive, widow, and mother of the first Native American U.S. Senator, Robert L. Owen, Jr. Her writings interpret the history of the tribe and describe the cultural upheaval of the Cherokees moving west. They also offer a glimpse into antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction American life.
This edition provides a wealth of background information including a biographical preface, chronology of Owen's life, genealogy, and textual footnotes. In addition, an introductory essay places the Memoirs in the context of Owen's predecessors and contemporaries, including Cherokee cultural and literary tradition, the larger Indian historical/literary context, and women's writing of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Karen L. Kilcup is president of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers and professor of American literature at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the author or editor of seven books, including Jewett and Her Contemporaries (UPF) and Native American Women's Writing, c. 1800-1924.
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