A Panel for the Annual Conference of the
American Literature Association
San Francisco 5/27/10-5/30/10
The Trickster in American Literature and Culture
A figure of play and ambiguity, the embodiment of paradox, the trickster's cultural function has been to initiate change and illuminate social truths. Tricksters are present in a variety of genres and historical and cultural locations. While these characters have traditionally been defined by their role within a specific cultural framework, recent scholarship such as Jeanne Campbell Reesman's Trickster Lives: Culture and Myth in American Fiction has identified the cross cultural permutations of the trickster and enlarged the feasible arenas for trickster's habitation.