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James Welch Biography

(1940– ), Winter in the Blood, The Death of Jim Loney, Fools Crow, Riding the Earthboy 40

Native American writer of mixed Blackfoot and Gros Ventre descent, born in Montana, educated at the University of Montana; he has taught Native American literature at the University of Washington and Cornell University. Welch describes himself less as a traditional story-teller and more as a novelist within the Western, European-American tradition, dealing with characters in a situation of psychological crisis. Winter in the Blood (1974) and The Death of Jim Loney (1979) both focus on characters who seek release from alcoholism and alienation through the recovery of a tribal consciousness; in the latter work, Jim Loney, unable to control his life, finally takes control of the manner of his death. Fools Crow (1986) is a historical novel set in the 1860s, describing the various responses of avoidance and resistance of members of a Blackfoot band experiencing the impact of white settlement. Welch's poetry is collected in Riding the Earthboy 40 (1971). See ethnicity and Native American Literature.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Robert Penn Warren Biography to Kenneth White Biography