Louise Erdrich


Louise Erdrich

Infobox Writer
name = Louise Erdrich


caption =
birthdate = Birth date and age|1954|6|7|mf=y
birthplace = Little Falls, Minnesota, United States
deathdate =
deathplace =
occupation = Novelist, short story writer, poet
genre = Native American literature
movement = Postmodernism
notableworks = Love Medicine
influences = William Faulkner
influenced = Craig Womack
website = http://www.louiseerdrichbooks.com/

Karen Louise Erdrich (born June 7, 1954) is a Native American author of novels, poetry, and children's books. She is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Ojibway and Chippewa). She is widely acclaimed as one of the most significant Native writers of the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renaissance.

Background and early life

Erdrich was born, the eldest of seven children, to Ralph and Rita Erdrich in Little Falls, Minnesota. Her father was German-American while her mother was French and Anishinaabe (Ojibwe). Her grandfather, Patrick Gourneau, served as a tribal chairman for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota where her parents taught at the Bureau of Indian Affairs school. She attended Dartmouth College in 1972-1976, gaining an AB degree and meeting her future husband, the Modoc anthropologist and writer Michael Dorris, then director of the college’s Native American Studies program. Subsequently, Erdrich worked in a wide variety of jobs, including as a lifeguard, waitress, poetry teacher at prisons, and construction flag signaler. She also became an editor for "The Circle", a newspaper produced by and for the urban Native population in Boston. Erdrich graduated with her Master of Arts degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University in 1979.

Early literary work

In the period 1978-1982, Erdrich published many poems and short stories. It was also during this period that she began collaborating with Dorris, initially working through the mail while Dorris was working in New Zealand. The relationship progressed into a romance, and the two were married in 1981. During this time, Erdrich assembled the material that would eventually be published as the poetry collection "Jacklight".

In 1982, Erdrich's story "The World’s Greatest Fisherman" was awarded the $5,000 Nelson Algren Prize for short fiction. This convinced Erdrich and Dorris, who continued to work collaboratively, that they should embark on writing a novel.

"Love Medicine"

In 1984, Erdrich published the novel "Love Medicine". Made up of a disjointed but interconnected series of short narratives, each told from the perspective of a different character, and moving backwards and forward in time through every decade between the 1930’s and the present day, the book told the stories of several families living near each other on a North Dakota Anishinaabe reservation.

The innovative techniques of the book, which owed a great deal to the works of William Faulkner but have little precedent in Native-authored fiction, allowed Erdrich to build up a picture of a community in a way entirely suited to the reservation setting.Or|date=October 2007 She received immediate praise from author/critics such as N. Scott Momaday and Gerald Vizenor, and the book was awarded the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award. It has never subsequently been out of print.

"The Beet Queen"

Erdrich followed "Love Medicine" with "The Beet Queen", which continued her technique of using multiple narrators, but surprised many critics by expanding the fictional reservation universe of "Love Medicine" to include the nearby town of Argus, North Dakota. Native characters are very much kept in the background in this novel, while Erdrich concentrates on the German-American community. The action of the novel takes place mostly before World War II.

"The Beet Queen" was subject to a bitter attack from Native novelist Leslie Marmon Silko, who accused Erdrich of being more concerned with postmodern technique than with the political struggles of Native peoples. [The controversy and fall-out from this review, and some of its underlying themes, are reviewed in Susan Castillo, "Postmodernism, Native American Literature and the Real: the Silko-Erdrich Controversy" in "Notes from the Periphery: Marginality in North American Literature and Culture" New York: Peter Lang, 1995. 179-190).]

Other novels written with Michael Dorris

Erdrich and Dorris’ collaborations continued through the 1980s and into the 1990s, always occupying the same fictional universe.

"Tracks" goes back to the early 20th century at the very formation of the reservation and introduces the trickster figure of Nanapush, who owes a clear debt to Nanabozho. [There are many studies of the trickster figure in Erdrich's novels: a recent study that makes the connection between Nanabozho and Nanpush is "The Trickster and World Maintenance: An Anishinaabe Reading of Louise Erdrich's Tracks" by Lawrence W. Gross [http://oncampus.richmond.edu/faculty/ASAIL/SAIL2/173.html] ] By some way the novel of Erdrich’s most rooted in Anishinaabe culture (at least until "Four Souls"), it shows early clashes between traditional ways and the Roman Catholic church. "The Bingo Palace" updates but does not resolve various conflicts from "Love Medicine": set in the 1980s, it shows the effects both good and bad of a casino and a factory being set up among the reservation community. Finally, "Tales of Burning Love" finishes the story of Sister Leopolda, a recurring character from all the former books, and introduces a new set of white people to the reservation universe.

They also produced "The Crown of Columbus", the only novel to which both writers put their names, and "A Yellow Raft in Blue Water", credited to Dorris. Both of these are set outside the Argus reservation.

Accusations and divorce proceedings

The couple had six children, three of them adopted. Dorris had adopted the children when he was single; Erdrich also later adopted them and the couple had three daughters together. In 1991, their 23-year-old son Reynold Abel, the subject of Dorris' acclaimed book The Broken Cord, and a victim of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, was hit by a car and killed. In 1995, Dorris and Erdrich unsuccessfully pursued an extortion case against their son Jeffrey Sava, who had accused them both of child abuse. Shortly afterward, Dorris and Erdrich separated and began divorce proceedings. Erdrich claimed that Dorris had been depressed since the second year of their marriage. [ [http://www.salon.com/april97/dorris2970421.html Dorris obituary in Salon.com] [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9B05E4DC113FF93BA25757C0A961958260 New York Times obituary column] ]

On April 11, 1997, Michael Dorris committed suicide at the Brick Tower Motor Inn in Concord, New Hampshire.

Later Writings

Erdrich’s first novel after the divorce from Dorris, "The Antelope Wife", was the first to be set outside the continuity of the previous books. However, she has subsequently returned to the reservation and nearby towns, and has produced five novels since 1998 dealing with events there. Among these are "The Master Butchers Singing Club", a macabre mystery which again draws on Erdrich's unique Native American and German-American heritage, and "The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse", both of which have geographic and character connections with "The Beet Queen". Together with several of her previous works, these have drawn comparisons with William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha stories in the way that they create multiple narratives in the same fictional area and combine the tapestry of local history with current themes and modern consciousness. [See, e.g., Powell's Books (book review), "Christian Science Monitor", Monday, August 2nd, 2004] In her most recent novel, "A Plague of Doves", she continues the multi-ethnic dimension of her writing, successfully weaving together the layered relationships among residents of farms, towns and reservations, their shared histories, secrets, relationships and antipathies, and the complexities for later generations of re-imagining their ancestors' overlapping pasts.

She owns Birchbark Books, a bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and continues to write. [ [http://birchbarkbooks.com/ Birchbark Books website] ]

Awards

*O. Henry Award, for the short story "Fleur" (published in "Esquire", August 1986) (1987)
*Pushcart Prize in Poetry
*Western Literacy Association Award
*Guggenheim Fellowship
*National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, for "Love Medicine" (1984)
*World Fantasy Award, for "The Antelope Wife" (1999)
*Associate Poet Laureate of North Dakota, 2005
*Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, for the children's book "The Game of Silence" (2006)
*In April 2007 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of North Dakota, but refused it over her opposition to that university's North Dakota Fighting Sioux mascot. [http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/04/20/erdrich/]

Relations

Her sister, Heidi, who publishes under the name Heid E. Erdrich, is a poet who also resides in Minnesota. Another sister, Lise Erdrich, has written children's books and collections of fiction and essays. For the past few years, the Erdrich sisters have hosted annual writers workshops on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota.{Minneapolis Star Tribune, February 3, 2008}Her cousin is the award-winning photographer Ronald W. Erdrich, who lives and works in Abilene, TX. He was named Star Photojournalist of the Year in 2004 by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors association.

Works

Novels

* "Love Medicine" (1984)
* "The Beet Queen" (1986)
* "Tracks" (1988)
* "The Crown of Columbus" [with Michael Dorris] (1991)
* "The Bingo Palace" (1994)
* "Tales of Burning Love" (1997)
* "The Antelope Wife" (1998)
* "The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse" (2001)
* "The Master Butchers Singing Club" (2003)
* "Four Souls" (2004)
* "The Painted Drum" (2005)
* "The Plague of Doves" (Harper, 2008)

Children's literature

* "Grandmother's Pigeon" (1996)
* "The Birchbark House" (1999)
* "The Range Eternal" (2002)
* "The Game of Silence" (2005)

Poetry

* "Jacklight" (1984)
* "Baptism of Desire" (1989)
* "Original Fire: Selected and New Poems" (2003)

Non-fiction

* "Route Two" [with Michael Dorris] (1990)
* "The Blue Jay’s Dance: A Birthyear" (1995)
* "Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country" (2003)

As editor or contributor

* "The Broken Cord" by Michael Dorris (Foreword) (1989)
* "The Best American Short Stories 1993" (Editor, with Katrina Kenison) (1993)
* " The Reptile Garden" (2008) [http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2008/01/28/080128fi_fiction_erdrich The Reptile Garden]

ee also

*List of writers from peoples indigenous to the Americas
*Native American Renaissance
*Native American Studies

References

External links

* [http://louiseerdrichbooks.com Louise Erdrich Official Web Page]
* [http://birchbarkbooks.com/ Birchbark Books store web site]
* [http://www.lannan.org/lf/rc/event/louise-erdrich/ Lannan Readings and Conversations - Louise Erdrich with Gail Caldwell]
* [http://voices.cla.umn.edu/vg/Bios/entries/erdrich_louise.html Louise Erdrich from Voices in the Gaps]
* [http://www.booksense.com/people/archive/erdrichlouise.jsp Interview with Louise Erdrich on BookSense]
* [http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200101u/int2001-01-17 A conversation with Louise Erdrich from The Atlantic]
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E07E4DA113AF931A15756C0A9669C8B63&sec= WRITERS ON WRITING; Two Languages in Mind, But Just One in the Heart - Louise Erdrich]
* [http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/erdrich/about.htm Multiple Erdrich Biographies]
* [http://www.infography.com/content/582844050872.html Infography about Louise Erdrich]
* [http://www.bookbrowse.com/bb_briefs/detail/index.cfm?ezine_preview_number=58 Bookbrowse.com - The Painted Drum]
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4933011 NPR - Louise Erdrich and 'The Painted Drum' by Martha Woodroof]
* [http://www.harpercollins.com/author/authorExtra.aspx?isbn13=9780060515102&displayType=readingGuide Harper Collins reading guide for "The Painted Drum"]

Interviews

* [http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=CL1FYe-GtX0 Interview on Democracy Now - YouTube]

Reviews

* [http://www.bookreporter.com/reviews2/0060515104.asp Bookreporter.com review of "The Painted Drum"]
* [http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21618 Blood Relations] Claire Messud essay on Erdrich from "The New York Review of Books"
* [http://www.harpercollins.com/author/authorExtra.aspx?isbn13=9780060515102&displayType=readingGuide ReviewsofBooks.com Reviews on "The Painted Drum"] .

Persondata
NAME=Erdrich, Louise
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Erdrich, Karen Louise
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Novelist, poet
DATE OF BIRTH=Birth date and age|1954|6|7|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH=Little Falls, Minnesota
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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  • Louise Erdrich — (* 7. Juni 1954 in Little Falls, Minnesota) ist eine amerikanische Schriftstellerin. Sie lebt in Minneapolis. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Werke 3 Louise Erdrich über ihre Arbeit …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Louise Erdrich — (Little Falls, Minnesota, 1954) escritora estadounidense de origen chippewa y alemán, miembro de la Turtle Band of Chippewa. Se crio en Wahpeton (Dakota del Norte) donde sus padres eran maestros de escuelas. Sus obras están ambientadas en la vida …   Wikipedia Español

  • Louise Erdrich — Karen Louise Erdrich (1954 ) est une auteur américaine de romans, poésie et livres pour enfants. Elle est une des figures les plus emblématiques de la jeune littérature indienne et appartient au mouvement de la Renaissance amérindienne (Native… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Erdrich — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Louise Erdrich (* 1954), indianisch amerikanische Schriftstellerin Marianne Erdrich Sommer (* 1952), deutsche Politikerin (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Erdrich, Louise — ▪ American author in full  Karen Louise Erdrich  born June 7, 1954, Little Falls, Minn., U.S.       author of Native American ethnicity whose principal subject is the Chippewa Indians in the northern Midwest.       Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton,… …   Universalium

  • Erdrich —   [ əːdrɪk], Karen Louise, amerikanische Schriftstellerin, * Little Falls (N. D.) 6. 7. 1954; Tochter einer Chippewa Indianerin und eines Deutschen; schreibt Gedichte (»Jacklight«, 1984), Kurzgeschichten und Romane, in denen sie anhand von Einzel …   Universal-Lexikon

  • The Master Butchers Singing Club — infobox Book | name = Master Butchers Singing Club title orig = translator = author = Louise Erdrich illustrator = cover artist = Jacket design by Elliott Beard country = United States language = English series = genre = Novel publisher =… …   Wikipedia

  • Michael Dorris — For other people named Michael Dorris, see Michael Dorris (disambiguation). Michael Dorris Born Michael Anthony Dorris January 30, 1945(1945 01 30) Louisville, Kentucky, United States Died April 10, 1997(1997 04 10) (aged 52) Concord, New… …   Wikipedia

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • Tracks (novel) — Tracks is a 1988 novel by Louise Erdrich. It is the story of Fleur and a Native American tribe in the early 20th century. The lifestyle for the tribe is ending and the story is presented by Pauline and Nanapush, two of the main characters in the… …   Wikipedia


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