Craven, Margaret: I Heard the Owl Call My Name
(researched by Tim Van Dyck)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Demco Media, Limited Copyright 1973 by Margaret Craven
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First edition published in trade cloth in January 1973 First paperback in December 1974 Laurel Publishing
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
84 leaves 1 of which does not count in numbering of pages 166 pages [10]11-61[3]65-91[3]95-132[2]135-166[2] No illustrated pages Seperated into 4 parts (Part seperations are not numbered but do count in the numbering) Page numbers are 1" from the side of the page and 1.5" from the bottom
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
Dedicated to the Tsawataineuk Tribe at Kingcome Village British Columbia and for Eric Powell Table of Contents with 4 headings for each of the 4 part seperations
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
None
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Page is 207mm vertically and 130mm horizontally Text is 146mm vertically and 95 mm horizontally Very readable text with only a slight fade over time 97R
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
Thick quality paper of an off-white coloring that doesn't indicate any change in color over time. The edges are frayed but not showing any other wear and tear. No rips.
11 Description of binding(s)
Good binding, for a paperback, but still not that exceptional. Shows a little more than average wear on the binding.
12 Transcription of title page
I heard/the owl/call/my name/Margaret Craven/Demco Media, Limited/New Yor, New York
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
Not available at this time
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Picture of an owl perched with one its left wing pressed to its side and its right wing spread out as if listening
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
N/A
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
December 1973 Doubleday & Company Inc. July 1978 G.K. Hall & Company December 1979 Dell Publishing (Reprint of Doubldeday) October 1991 Buccaneer Books Inc.
6 Last date in print?
October 10 1999 Demco Media, Limited October 10 1999 Dell Publishing October 10 1999 Buccaneer Books Inc.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Memorable.... A shining parable about the reconciliation of two cultures and two faiths." -- Christian Science Monitor Ads were placed in teaching, religious, and literary publications, such as the above quotation.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
Other promotion came from the Motion Picture that was being released later the same year as the books publication (1973)
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Motion Picture -- I Heard the Owl Call My Name 1973 produced by Roger Gimbel (now available VCI Home Video 78 min.)
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
German -- Reibeck bei Hamberg : Rowohlt 1976
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
Sequel -- Again Calls the Owl, Laurel Publishing 1980
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Margaret Craven was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She was brought up the only child of a staunch Christian home. Margeret became active with her parents in the church at an early age. She attended the Duke University where she studied to be a nurse. While living in New Mexico, Craven began to grow an interest in the study of Native American cultures. This prompted Craven to write her first novel - I Heard the Owl Call My Name - beginning in 1970. The novel was completed by 1973 and was first published in 1974. The novel was well received by audiences through out the country and world where it was honored for both its realistic portrayal of the North Western Native American culture, and the movingly believable spiritual journey that is undertaken by the main character Rev. Brian. The novel finished the year 1974 as the eighth heighest best seller of the year. Craven went blind from a congenital heart disorder in 1979. But Craven followed up the success of her first novel with a sequel entitled Again Calls the Owl, she wrote it by dictating it to an assistant. In 1980 Craven began to live and work in the Red Bird Mission where she died in September 1981.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Upon it's publication "I Heard the Owl Call My Name" was well recieved by critics and audiences alike. Though it never got higher than 6th on the bestseller list for any one month it on the list long enough to be one of the top ten best sellers. Critics from around the country harolded the book as a mini-epic, full of intricate Native American ideals and rituals the novels obvious Christian symbolism and universal quest for identity made the book, despite its length, considered an "instant Classic." (LA Times). Popular in England as well London's The Times Litereary Supplement says "A book thoughtful readers will surely return to again and again...It is hard to imagine a more complete and full- filling book than this." Many similar articles were published by Library Journal, Best Sellers, New Statesman Magazine "A moving statement of a conflict between two societies," the Hartford Courant, and The News Journal (Wilmington). All of these reviews helped to keep the book on the best sellers list. The popularity of the book amongst audiences s pring boarded the book into a movie. The movie, though not as well received as the book, came out at the beginning of the following year and only helped to increase the popularity of the book as critics of the movie referred to the book many times when referring to their disappointment of the movie.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Upon it's publication "I Heard the Owl Call My Name" was well recieved by critics and audiences alike. Though it never got higher than 6th on the bestseller list for any one month it on the list long enough to be one of the top ten best sellers. Critics from around the country harolded the book as a mini-epic, full of intricate Native American ideals and rituals the novels obvious Christian symbolism and universal quest for identity made the book, despite its length, considered an "instant Classic." (LA Times). Popular in England as well London's The Times Litereary Supplement says "A book thoughtful readers will surely return to again and again...It is hard to imagine a more complete and full- filling book than this." Many similar articles were published by Library Journal, Best Sellers, New Statesman Magazine "A moving statement of a conflict between two societies," the Hartford Courant, and The News Journal (Wilmington). All of these reviews helped to keep the book on the best sellers list. The popularity of the book amongst audiences s pring boarded the book into a movie. The movie, though not as well received as the book, came out at the beginning of the following year and only helped to increase the popularity of the book as critics of the movie referred to the book many times when referring to their disappointment of the movie.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Why of all books I Heard the Owl Call My Name? In 1967 Margaret Craven published her first novel I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME. Copyrighted by herself, Craven's book went almost unnoticed during its initial release by Laurel Publishing in Canada late that year. Nine years later the book was released to American audiences for the first time by Dell Publishing. The book immediately began to get stunning reviews and was heralded by critics and readers alike as a major literary event. The book became a best seller in January of 1976 and stayed in the top ten best sellers for the next eleven months, finishing the year as the 8th most popular book in America for that year. It had the longest run on the best seller's list for any book that year (usually remaining around nine or ten on the list) because of its universal appeal. This multi-faceted appeal kept I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME popular for many years and has continued to bring people back to the coast of British Columbia to read about the man Margaret Craven named Jim Wallace (P.W.) Part of the original draw of the book was its outsider appeal. Jim Wallace, an Episcopalian minister, is starting his new ministry in a remote Indian (as Craven refers to them) village on the northern coast of British Columbia. He knows none of the people, the customs, and only one or two of the Indians speaks English. This outsider struggling against a majority he or she is unfamiliar with is a popular idea in modern literature. Classics such as HEART OF DARKNESS, NATIVE SON, and even children's stories like ALICE IN WONDERLAND all capitalize on this theme. Contemporary legal and science thrillers by John Grisham (author of THE FIRM, THE PELICAN BRIEF), Tom Clancy (PATRIOT GAMES, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER), and Michael Crichton (RISING SUN, AIRFRAME) also use similar plot devices. This idea is a popular one among readers because of our society's infatuation with the underdog and the triumph of the underling. However, many other books have attempted to cash in on this popular plot setting and have failed. Craven succeeded by adding her own twist to the story and having her main character fail. Jim Wallace by the end of the story has not completed everything that he has been sent out to this village to do. He has not made good God fearing Christians out of all of them. He has not cleaned up the towns spreading problems with alcohol. He was getting close to completing these tasks when he dies. But, Jim Wallace had succeeded in doing something else before he died: finding peace with himself. While in the village Wallace found problems with his own religion's ideology and as he taught his religion to them he also learned of their people's spiritual guidance. As Wallace begins to fade at the end of the book and wrestle with the realization of his own mortality he finds peace by putting together pieces of both of the religions, making his own personal set of spiritual and ritualistic rules. Craven's writing style also contributed to the book's popularity. I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME uses simple, easy to understand English set down in ways that both adults and children can understand. Unfamiliar tasks, such as the Indians native rituals, and the unique way that the Indians fish in the river adjacent to their village are described in depth and clearly defined. Much of the book's staying power is a result of this style. After its initial American release in 1976 and its subsequent stay on the Bestseller's list, I Heard the Owl Call My Name was then re-categorized by mainstream book critics and publishers as a children's or young adults book and has remained under that heading ever since. This redefining of the book opened it up to a whole new age group of readers, who are searching for books that stretch beyond the boundaries of usual childhood literature. I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME is now a staple on school reading lists all across America, usually in the six, seventh, or eighth grade levels. Craven's book has become so popular to younger audiences because of its breaking of the norm once again. As one young adult critic put it "[many] books for people of that age are primarily concerned with children, or [childhood] issues that can often feel patronizing to readers of that age group?Craven's work does not take that approach, but finds a way to present adult concepts to young adults in a way that they can understand?(Y.A.B.R)" Adult readers of the book however, appreciated the book's concepts as well. At the time of its initial release in Canada in 1967, the counter culture was in full swing in both the United States and Canada. The throwing away of older ideals was happening all across the western world, and a novel about religion and grabbing hold of one's lost heritage was lost in the counter culture's wake. But in 1976 the social and political landscapes had changed drastically. The United States was now looking for its heritage. It was the beginning of the popular late twentieth century political notion "back to family values." Jimmy Carter was elected President under the pretense of his "next door neighbor appearance and attitude," America wanted to forget Vietnam and Watergate. However, America was also initializing a snowball of events that would end up with American hostages being taken by Iran. America was in a complex time in which church numbers began to grow. It was in this back to the family, back to religion time, that I Heard the Owl Call My Name made its first publication in the United States. Consumerism was at an all-time high in the United States. People were making and spending more. Credit was gaining exceeding popular, and technology was advancing faster than ever before. However, like most trends in society, an equally strong backlash against consumerism coincided with the return to roots idea passing through the country. I Heard the Owl Call My Name and its story of return to a wilderness paradise only to find it poisoned by outsider commercialism followed this trend. The protagonist's repulsion of what his society has done to this once peaceful village found a welcome audience. Just as Jim Wallace found solace by stopping his people's meddling with the Indians, many people of the time found that they did not need all of the luxuries that companies were mass marketing at all-time highs. Recreational sports such as rock-climbing, bicycling, and hiking began gaining popularity; as did country cabins and second homes in more rural locations than one's main home. Similarly the late nineteen seventies saw a rise in the number of action, and special interest groups. Political correctness witnessed its birth as the movie Ghandi raked in all the major Oscars because, as one critic put it, "?if you didn't vote for the movie, it was taken a knock against the real Ghandi?" Pop-culture following Hollywood's lead began to investigate simpler ways of life including Native Americans. History books were being re-written for schools describing what actually happened to the Native Americans during the settler's expansion west. Following Watergate and Vietnam America was Coming to terms with all of the demons in its proverbial closet. Native American's found that they had a stronger voice in the political landscape, and formed interest groups to regain land taken from their ancestors. Once again, I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME arrived on the scene just in time to reap the benefits of this cultural swing. Craven's simple, realistic portrayal of Native American's of the Great Northwest didn't become sympathetic, or melodramatic. Her portrayal was approved by Native American groups around the country, and was condoned by historian, and anthropologists for resisting the temptation to make the story too melodramatic and deflect all blame from the village. The details of the story were, once again, heralded by Native American organizations. Especially those pertaining to spiritual rituals that have been "bastardized by Hollywood in the last forty or fifty years (N.A.L.J)." Craven's tale of lost faith rekindled struck a chord with readers. The idea of finding a personal means of spirituality, one that works for the individual was growing more popular. Protest churchgoer number grew faster as more and more people left the Catholic faith in search for a religion with ideals that more resembled their own personal beliefs. Likewise the country was trying to find something to believe in. Vietnam, Watergate, the growing situation in Iran, increased commercialism, all contributed to the nations growing need for change. Disco was fading out quickly, as was the variety show, and America was beginning to see the death of the celebrity ideal as celebrity's lives were stripped away by the media. Drug use, and alcoholism were a part of pop-culture (that would drastically change in the years to come) and sixties' hippies were giving way to eighties' yuppies. People began to turn to religion to sort out the problems that they were having in making sense of the world around them. Pop-culture was blamed by many for spreading the sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll mentality of the seventies, and was being challenged to change it. Movies and music were not carrying the torch for this cause so books, still affiliated with simpler times and ideals in the minds of the people in the United States, was expected to take up where Hollywood had failed. I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME did not disappoint people. As church numbers grew, so did it begin to mix itself with eastern religions, and New Age religions were springing up across the country. People were seeking and finding the guise of spirituality that they felt worked best for themselves as individuals. Books about spirituality for children were also spare at this time. Parents began to read more to their children, and reading was taken up by parents to help nurture the mental and emotional development of their children. Parents wanting to lay down good moral and religious foundations as well as improving reading skills especially wanted spiritual books. These kinds of books were few and far between at the time, so the popularity of those books that were successful in their story telling was extremely high. Readers also flocked to read the equally spiritual Again Calls the Owl that brought readers back to I Heard the Owl Call My Name and helped increase its distribution again. As did the movie of the original book that came out in 1977, a year after the books original release. Finally Margaret Craven's own spiritual journey (having lost her sight, Craven claimed to have found solace in God) also struck a chord with readers and added validity and a somber note both books. Despite a poor showing in its original publication of 1967, I Heard the Owl Call My Name made a splash in the United States in its American publication in 1976. In that nine-year span the social and political landscape had changed drastically and those who were dismissing their parents ideals were now looking for them once again. Craven's novel capitalized on this wave crossing. The book's quiet story of a minister sent to the Great Northwest to be a missionary to a small village of Native Americans only to find himself questioning his own faith still resonates today. The emotional and spiritual journey that Jim Wallace undergoes as he confronts what his own society has done to the village sends a soft message of lost innocence that adult and child readers can identify with. The book's theme of longing and searching, a popular one theme found in many books, takes a gentle turn as the protagonist begins to die and Craven shows that the individual can't rely on finding something he or she needs in something that is already established. The individual must find the religion or spirituality that he or she needs anywhere, even if it means mixing and matching the ideals of more than one faith, because true spirituality has always been personalized and belongs to the individual. This opposing view to a question many people of the time were asking found a large audience in America and helped make I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME the eighth highest seller of 1976. Bibliography --WorldCat --Infotrac --Virgo --Publisher's Weekly January 1977 --Christian Science Monitor --Native American Ledger Journal --Young Adult Book Review
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