MELUS

A journal concentrating on multi-ethnic American literature for the academic audience.

Articles from Vol. 29, No. 3-4, Fall-Winter

Adah Isaacs Menken: Race and Transgendered Performance in the Nineteenth Century
"Mrs. Stowe," she supposedly gushed, "I have dreamed of this moment, for I am a great admirer of your work." "I do not admire yours, Mrs. Menken," Harriet Beecher Stowe is said to have replied. (1) (Gersom 108) "My darling, a woman with such...
Aiiieeeee! and the Asian American Literary Movement: A Conversation with Shawn Wong
As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley in 1969, Shawn Wong noticed there were no Asian American works" taught in his" English classes. There seemed to be no Asian American literary tradition on which an aspiring writer such as Wong could draw. Wong entered...
Becoming Italian in the US: Through the Lens of Life Narratives
Sociologist Francis Ianni suggests that immigrants from Italy and their children lacked an ethnic identity based on their common national ancestry when they came to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. In his view, when they eventually...
Bio-Politics and the contamiNation of the Body in Alejandro Morales' the Rag Doll Plagues
With the rise of the modern nation-state during the eighteenth century, power, discourse, and knowledge have constituted central elements in controlling the populace. Especially in the West, the nation-state has governed the lives of its people, creating...
Ethnic Outsider as the Ultimate Insider: The Paradox of Verghese's My Own Country
In 1994, in the midst of the United States' painful and searching engagement with AIDS, Abraham Verghese's first memoir, My Own Country: A Doctor's Story of a Town and Its People in the Age of AIDS, was published. Note that the subtitle of Verghese's...
Excerpts from MELUS NewsNotes
MELUS: The Society Once upon a time there was a dear little old lady who found she had enough money so that she didn't have to hang around doctors' offices anymore. So she sent in her subscription to her favorite magazine, but when the National...
From "A Community of Scholars": Keynote Address, First MELUS Conference 1987
Of course, I suppose that some of you have come here to network. That means, as far as I'm concerned, you're going to do what two computers do when they get together. I think community is a much warmer word. It has to do with two or more people getting...
From Narrow Complaint to Broad Celebration: A Conversation with Charles Johnson
One 0f America's pre-eminent writers and thinkers, Charles Richard Johnson, a PhD in Philosophy and a 1998 MacArthur Fellow, is the author of four novels Faith and the Good Thing (1974), Oxherding Tale (1982), Middle Passage (1990), and Dreamer (1998);...
Going for the Knockout: Confronting Whiteness in Gus Lee's China Boy
Would Ahab have been content merely to go the distance with the White whale? --A.J. Liebling, The Sweet Science (1956) I would not have written China Boy had my stepmother been alive. --Gus Lee, qtd. in Sherwin In his semi-autobiographical...
Harlem Shadows: Re-Evaluating Wallace Thurman's the Blacker the Berry
Wallace Thurman's first novel, The Blacker the Berry, appeared at an extremely productive time for this young turk of the Harlem Renaissance--and in many ways, this novel reflects his complex interrogation of racial, sexual, and cultural identity more...
How Katharine Got That Way
How could a girl born in 1911 into a narrow-minded, anti-Semitic, bigoted, working-class, WASP family have grown into a radical woman who helped change the study of American literature? Our mother, Katharine Dealy Newman, was so unlike her birth family...
III. Reaching out and Returning
In this section, we have included three scholarly essays that relate to the establishment in Europe and India of MELUS chapters, which have by now grown into major sister organizations. To provide some historical context, it might be useful to recap...
Introduction: Katharine D. Newman and Redefining American Literature
What do you see Walt Whitman? Who are they you salute, and that one after another salute you? ... I see the curious rapid change of the light and shade, I see distant lands, as real and near to the inhabitants of them as my land is to me ......
IV. Remembering and Reminiscing Katherine D. Newman
In "Self-Reliance," Emerson writes, "an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man." He is wrong about MELUS; it is the lengthened shadow of a woman. --Richard Tuerk Katharine Newman died on 24 May 2001. When news of the death of this extraordinary...
Katharine Newman: A Brief Memoir
Although I was not present when MELUS was conceived, I did attend the meeting at which MELUS became a reality. It was held during a Modern Language Association Convention in December 1973. I had received an invitation in the mail asking me to attend....
Katharine Newman and the Making of MELUS
I envy, have always envied, friends and colleagues with excellent memories. My memory has always been, if not a sieve exactly, then at least an unreliable and erratic mental tool. I wish I could remember in greater detail some of my conversations with...
Katharine Newman in the after World(s) * or MELUS Goes to Hell (1) Katharine Newman in Dopo World(s) O MELUS Va Ad Inferno Katharine Newman En Despues De World(s) O De MELUS Va Al Infierno
doris davenport (KN's "other" daughter) (* Being only a Short Excerpt of an Epic Multi-Volume, Multiethnically Authored WIP) Like Slim Greer, (2) Katharine Newman went to Heaven. Of course she went to heaven, because she had signed up for her...
Katharine Newman, Mother of MELUS
We were there at the beginning: Evelyn Avery, Dan Walden, and some eight other American literature professors who also taught and published American ethnic literature. I, Dan Walden, had taught Black literature at Penn State as early as 1967. I started...
"Katharine's Way"
In Ed-Talk it's called Mentoring, and in B School courses it's referred to as organizational management. How we experienced it in MELUS was as "Katharine's Way." Her alert intelligence would pick up a reference--maybe from a printed source, but just...
Letter to the Hawaii Conference, 1997
April 7, 1997 Dear MELUS-FOLK in Convention Assembled: Since I cannot travel to be with you, I have spent many hours imagining what I would say were I there. Let me start on a controversial mode. Here is my advice: Don't practice tolerance!...
Literature as Engagement: Teaching African American Literature to Korean Students
Teaching African American literature to Korean students has special cultural implications regarding Koreans' perception of and attitudes toward African Americans, especially after the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Although many of the problems which caused...
Literatures of the Americas, Latinidad, and the Re-Formation of Multi-Ethnic Literatures
In December 2002, The New York Times informed readers of a linguistics study that compares pronoun usage among Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, and Mexican communities in New York City. This study of the consequences of the collision of Spanish dialects...
MELUS Meets the World: The Story of the Overseas Chapters
For most of my academic career, I have depended on national organizations to give me the kind of support network I need in my chosen areas of study, African American, ethnic, and Southern literature. This has turned me into a kind of conference junkie;...
Middle-Class Asian American Women in a Global Frame: Refiguring the Statue of Liberty in Divakaruni and Minatoya
Introduction In accordance with the combined retrospective/prospective spirit that informs this special issue of MELUS, I would like to consider, through a motif-study of variations on the Statue of Liberty found in two prose narratives, some ways...
Preface
This volume celebrates the life and legacy of Katharine Dealy Newman, who is known popularly as "Mother MELUS" for her inspirational and dedicated leadership in helping to establish MELUS as an organization, as well as for laying the foundations for...
Public Intellectuals-Now and Then
I: Definitions and Thumbnail History First off, it must be said that intellectuals, that is people whose chief concern is with ideas and thinking about, and usually writing about, ideas--that includes certain philosophers, certain literary people...
Race and Ethnicity in the Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and the Rise of David Levinsky: The Performative Difference
Contemporary critics have questioned the reliance on the black-white binary as the defining paradigm of racial formation in the United States. Eric Goldstein contends that despite the black-white dichotomy's power "it was never a sufficient framework...
Race and the Puritan Body Politic
On that day, completely dislocated, unable to be abroad with the other, the white man, who unmercifully imprisoned me, I took myself far off from my own presence, far indeed, and made myself an object. What else could it be for me but an amputation,...
Racial Discourse and Black-Japanese Dynamics in Ishmael Reed's Japanese by Spring
Ishmael Reed's work usually elicits strong responses, both positive and negative. As someone "who for years has aired the dirty laundry of the black, white, yellow and the brown community," Reed feels free to critique ethnic US culture with impunity...
Reading Contests and Contesting Reading: Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker and Ethnic New York
In Chang Rae Lee's Native Speaker, the first-person narrator of the novel imagines the possibility of a Korean American mayor in New York City: [John] Kwang was certainly arresting to me.... Before I knew of him, I had never even conceived of...
Reading Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies as a Short Story Cycle
It may at first seem strange to describe Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies as a short story cycle rather than simply as a collection of separate and independent stories. After all, from Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio to Sandra Cisneros'...
Remembering Katharine
"How will you recognize me?" she said, echoing my question. "Well, just look for someone who resembles a bear," she added, chuckling. As I write these words now, I find myself smiling, for this is what I remember from a telephone conversation with...
Remembering Katharine Newman
After earning my doctorate in 1978, I sought out professional organizations related to my career as a specialist in nineteenth-century American and African American writing and joined such established groups as the Modern Language Association (MLA),...
Sexual Desire and Cultural Memory in Three Ethnic Poets
In introducing On a Bed of Rice: An Asian American Erotic Feast, Russell Leong declares, "In America, sex and race were my siblings--as close as sister and brother--full of love and hate, familiar and forbidden at the same time." His claim rings true...
Sui Sin Far and the Chinese American Canon: Toward a Post-Gender-Wars Discourse
The most important development in recent Asian American literary studies was perhaps the recovery of Sui Sin Far's work in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, this momentous breakthrough did not occur in one earth-shattering move, but through...
Taking Anthologies Seriously
Among Katharine Newman's virtues was that she took anthologies seriously, one of the earliest critics to do so. (1) Anyone who understands how educational institutions really function--like Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, they of Understanding...
Ted Joans and the (B)reach of the African American Literary Canon
This essay deals partly with issues of canonicity, partly with a critical evaluation of the work of the late poet Ted Joans and demands for his inclusion in the canon of African American writing. (1) I focus on Joans, not because he has the most urgent...
The Ethnic in the Canon; or, on Finding Santa Anna's Wooden Leg
I hope my readers will take more satisfaction than I do in the annals of barbarians --Prescott's reflections on his Conquest of Mexico (Gardiner 157). Stop! I don't wish to hear any more! Almighty God! A member of my body, lost in the service...
The Genesis of Whiteface in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Culture
The Irish American's progress from immigrant to citizen of the New World has been less the path of civic assimilation than the road of racial alchemy. (1) Between 1840 and 1900, Irish immigrants entered not only a New World, but also a new arena, where...
Theorizing Difference in Asian American Poetry Anthologies
Anthologies of American literature and processes of canon formation are closely linked to contemporary cultural debates about Americanness, identity politics, and questions of ethnic and racial difference. In The American Equation: Literature in a...
The Paradox of Native American Indian Intellectualism and Literature
The indian is ironic, to be sure, and a conveyance of manifest manners. Natives must overturn the simulations of the indian and leave the treasons of that slave name to the arbiters of colonial authenticity. --Gerald Vizenor, "'Visionary...
The Road to Hyderabad: MELUS in India
Who is Katherine Newman? A few years ago, very few academics in India had heard her name. As for MELUS, we in India had heard of it, but only in passing and with scant interest. But now MELUS can boast of an Indian Chapter that is all of five years...
The Value and Valuable Work of Multi-Ethnic Literature
In 1990 The Heath Anthology of American Literature was published under the sponsorship of the Reconstructing American Literature project (RAL) of the Feminist Press. Inspired by the Civil Rights movements, the RAL project attempted to redress the limited,...
Tribute to Katharine Newman
Katharine Newman was passionately devoted to the inclusion of multi-ethnic literature in MLA. She was the founder and the heart and soul of the journal MELUS. Her commitment to the organization and the journal made possible their present achievements....
V. Re-Markings: Selected Writings by Katharine D. Newman
It's like that with some folks that want our journal, MELUS. They don't understand that when they subscribe to our journal they are really joining a Society that expects them to climb mountains. --Katharine D. Newman In this section, we have...
When Passion Makes Ideas Travel in Memory of Katharine Newman
The MESEA Executive Board, 2003: Alfred Hornung, President; William Boelhower, Vice-President; Heike Raphael-Hernandez, Program Coordinator; Rocio G. Davis, Secretary; Dorothea Fischer-Hornung, Treasurer. Katharine Newman has been called the Founding...
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