New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage

By Alpana Sharma Knippling | Go to book overview

American life in the person of an undocumented immigrant who eventually prefers to cross the border again, this time legally, and return to Mexico. Guillermo Gomez-Pena, the performance artist and writer, clearly states his option for "borderness" as a state of mind and a way of life. More recently, with The Other Side: Fault Lines, Guerrilla Saints, and the True Heart of Rock 'n Roll ( 1993), Rubén Martinez has brought an internationalist, effervescent vision to the area.

Almost three decades after its renaissance, Mexican-American literature is certainly alive, probably in a more challenging way than ever. Echoing a heterogeneous community that lives in an increasingly complex society, the writers' response has been one of opening up to, acknowledging, the Other--be it the Anglo, the Mexican, or the Italian--and they have thus reached a truer knowledge of themselves. Together with other ethnic literatures--Native American, African-American, Asian-American--Chicano literature has successfully challenged and is revising the mainstream literary canon. The Health Anthology of American Literature displays a multiethnic perspective that acknowledges the Hispanic contribution to American literature from Cabeza de Vaca Relaciones to contemporary writers like Tomas Rivera or Sandra Cisneros. In the past ten years Chicano literature has also made a considerable breakthrough overseas. Universities in Germany, France, Spain, and Austria have been organizing lectures and international conferences on Chicano and, more generally, on Hispanic literature in the United States.

If, according to Octavio Paz, the great Latin American writers have actually transgressed the Castillan idiom, it would seem that the best Mexican-American writings are the result of a double transgression--that of English and Spanish. By explicitly and implicitly using each or both languages, the Chicano author does more than invent: he or she uncovers the latent, virtual possibilities of an interlingual-intercultural idiom. The most valuable Mexican-American writings--and the best is yet to come--actually invalidate binary oppositions. Rather, their existential, cultural, and formal raison d'être lies in a search for inter-American complementary differences and areas of confluence.


NOTES
1.
A cultural term that favorably describes the process of miscegenation, the mixture of different racial backgrounds. Chicanos in the 1960s started using the term with pride to refer to their mixed-blood heritage, European and Indian.
2.
Following the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, the terms "Mexican-American" and "Chicano" will be used interchangeably without the nationalist connotation the latter acquired during the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
3.
Originally zoot-suited Chicano youths in Los Angeles during the 1940s, pachucos came to refer more generally to Chicano "dudes" from the barrios as characterized by their dress, invented language (calo), and socially marginal behavior.

-359-

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New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Works Cited xix
  • I - Asian-American Literatures 1
  • 1 - Arab-American Literature 3
  • Conclusion 15
  • Notes 15
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 16
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 17
  • 2 - Armenian-American Literature Khachig Tololyan 19
  • Conclusion 37
  • Notes 39
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 40
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 41
  • 3 - Chinese-American Literature 43
  • Introduction 43
  • Notes 62
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 62
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 63
  • 4 - Filipino American Literature Nerissa Balce-Cortes and Jean Vengua Gier 67
  • Conclusion 84
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 86
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 87
  • 5 - Indian-American Literature 91
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 105
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 107
  • 6 - Iranian-American Literature Nasrin Rahimieh 109
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 122
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 123
  • 7 - Japanese-American Literature Benzi Zhang 125
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 140
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 141
  • 8 - Korean-American Literature 143
  • Conclusion 151
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 152
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 154
  • 9 - Pakistani-American Literature Sunil Sharma 159
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 164
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 167
  • II - Caribbean-American Literatures 169
  • 10 - Anglophone Caribbean-American Literature 171
  • 11 - Cuban-American Literature 187
  • Conclusion 203
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 204
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 205
  • 12 - Dominican-American Literature 207
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 216
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 218
  • 13 - Puerto Rican-American Literature Carrie Tirado Bramen 221
  • Conclusion 234
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 234
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 237
  • III - European-American Literatures 241
  • 14 - Finnish-American Literature 243
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 251
  • 15 - Greek-American Literature 253
  • Conclusion 259
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 259
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 261
  • 16 - Irish-American Literature 265
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 276
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 279
  • 17 - Italian/American Literature 281
  • Conclusion 287
  • Notes 290
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 291
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 292
  • 18 - Jewish-American Literature 295
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 305
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 307
  • 19 - Sephardic Jewish-American Literature 309
  • Introduction 309
  • Conclusion 313
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 314
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 316
  • 20 - Polish-American Literature 319
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 326
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 327
  • 21 - Slovak-American and Czech-American Literature 329
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 337
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 338
  • IV Mexican-American Literatures 339
  • 22 - Mexican-American Literature Ada Savin 341
  • Conclusion 357
  • Notes 359
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 360
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 362
  • Selected Bibliography 367
  • Index 371
  • About the Contributors 383
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