Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Synopsis

As a distinct area of literary study, Asian American literature now enjoys a level of critical recognition that was unimaginable when academic interest in the field began modestly some 25 years ago. Part of this recognition stems from the increasing contributions of Asian American novelists, whose works continue to capture growing levels of popular attention. This reference book provides alphabetically arranged entries for 70 Asian American novelists. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and provides a short biography, a discussion of major works and themes, an overview of the novelist's critical reception, and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. In addition, the volume concludes with a selected, general bibliography.

Excerpt

Asian American literature, as a distinct area of literary studies, now enjoys a level of critical recognition and institutional legitimacy that was unimaginable when academic interest in the field began on a modest scale about twenty-five years ago. This early interest in Asian American writing during the mid-1970s was generated by a variety of seemingly unrelated developments. A major factor was the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and the spirit of ethnic nationalism it engendered among various marginalized minority groups in the United States. Student activism, often energized by radical opposition to American military adventurism in Asia, helped create a political climate conducive to ethnicization of curriculum on many influential American campuses. Soon academic programs in Asian American studies, often in embryonic forms, began to emerge on some of the campuses on the West Coast. The Immigration Reform Act of 1965, too, played a role. This bold piece of progressive legislation brought new waves of Asian immigrants to the United States. Because the immigration policy adopted in 1965 gave preference to skilled workers and professionals, the new immigrants tended to be highly educated and solidly middle-class. By the early 1970s anthologies of creative writing by Asian Americans began to appear; these collections provided forums for several young writers to showcase their talent. In 1976, Maxine Hong Kingston published her landmark autobiographical novel, The Woman Warrior. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award and soon became one of the most widely taught texts on American campuses.

Since the mid-1970s numerous Asian American writers, such as Amy Tan, Michael Ondaatje, and Bharati Mukherjee, have gained considerable critical as well as commercial success. There are now almost two dozen anthologies of creative works by Asian American artists. Some of these volumes, such as Shawn Wang Asian American Literature:
A Brief Introduction and Anthology
. . .

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