Autumn 1949 • Vol. XI No. 4 Book Reviews |

The Fictions of Aborigines

Winnebago Hero Cycle: A Study in Aboriginal Literature by Paul Radin. Memoir I of the International Journal of Linguistics. Bloomington, Indiana. $2.00 This very interesting volume presents four of the literary works of Mr. Radin's favorite aborigines, the Winnebago Indians. They are hero cycles, relayed to Radin by an alienated artist called Sam Blowsnake. Accompanied by Radin's introduction and notes, they constitute a volume which deserves a much wider reading than it will likely get. Mr. Radin has arranged his hero cycles in such a way as to show how effectively the Winnebago gave literary expression to the typical moral experience of their culture. The four cycles tell the stories of Trickster, Hare, Red Horn, and the Twins; and together they present a somewhat crude but by no means contemptible version of the Aeschylean progression from chaos to humane order. Again, as Mr. Radin observes, the Trickster cycle gives a distinctly Rabelaisian tone to the whole, and we cann

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Richard Chase (1914-1962) was a literary critic and a Professor of English at Columbia University. He is known for his work The American Novel and Its Tradition.

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