Atlantis Arisen: Or, Talks of a Tourist about Oregon and Washington
By Mrs Frances Fuller Victor. Philadelphia: JH Lippincott, 1891. Read below to help crowd-source an analysis of it!
This book is pretty lightweight, being padded with secondary material from other people’s historical accounts: Franchère, Irving, Gray…and a big dose of picturesque fantasy. Being already a respected writer of Northwest history–who worked for Hubert Howe Bancroft–the author had a real interest in local history and ran with that inspiration. She knew her stuff also because of having lived in Oregon since 1864.
Much of the Chinook Jargon here is lifted from elsewhere or imagined, but there’s always something of interest for a Chinooker in a volume about our region from the 1890s.
It’s nice to see that Mrs Victor and her companions ventured out from Portland to visit the remoter and for us more interesting Shoalwater Bay. (Now most maps call it Willapa Bay.)
She says that someone handed her a poem, “The Song of Kamiakin” (page 58 and following; also printed in her book “All Over Oregon and Washington“), that purports to tell the true old Indian story of the origin of several points along the Columbia River. It’s doggerel, as usual for the period, with White-oriented humor a major element. This is where you’ll find the majority of the Chinook Jargon in the book, which is an interesting comment on how strong the expectation was at the time that English-speaking readers in the PNW would understand the non-English content. Not all of the CJ is defined for the reader. Neither are many other things, like “Juniata”, that a 2013 reader probably won’t grasp.
Leave a comment about references in the poem that aren’t explained! We can crowd-source a reader’s guide.