Authenticity, Right Relation and the Return of the Repressed Native in James Galvin’s "The Meadow"

Journal of Contemporary Thought 43:84-109 (2016)
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This essay reads acclaimed poet James Galvin’s 1992 semi-autobiographical novel through the lenses of Martin Heidegger’s notion of authenticity and Patrick Wolfe’s discussion of settler-colonialism. I argue that Lyle, arguably the novel’s main character, is portrayed as living “authentically” in contrast to the deep inauthenticity of Ferris. I connect Western authentic dwelling with settler-colonial logic, centering my account on the figures of the “lazy” and “magical” “Indian.” Ultimately, I find that far from rejecting settler-colonial logic Galvin’s text plays out of a return of the repressed of the present absence of indigenous persons in the land and the text.

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Ian K. Jensen
Sewanee, The University of the South


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