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

By Alpana Sharma Knippling | Go to book overview

for her. She is on the other side of potential now, where everything counts" (355). As in Najarian Daughters of Memory and Arlen Passage to Ararat, what counts is to make peace with the past, and that, in turn, means not to pass on either the pained silence or the painful stories to another generation: "You passed your fears on to us as kids" (362), Seta says to her American-born mother, who, in turn, received them from Seta's grandmother; Seta does not wish to pass them on to her unborn child, to give yet another hostage to history. 14 Translation, transmission, and transfer again emerge as issues, but Edgarian's way of dealing with them is more nuanced than what has come before.

Like the older Chinese women of The Joy Luck Club, to which this text bears several similarities ( Amy Tan praises the novel in a blurb), Casard's friends know her story, yet guard it for a long time as they continue to watch over her family: "[T]he ladies I carry with me like chromosomes," Seta writes (355). The full story is not revealed in any one epiphanic moment but in dreams and historical recollections that punctuate the strong narrative of the younger generations, whose lives are not painless: an Armenian-American woman is raped; Vietnam is invoked as offering a kind of parallel to the genocide; Araxie, of the middle generation, does not behave as an Armenian daughter and mother should. Having married an odar she loves against her mother's wishes, fifteen years later she cuckolds him with an Armenian man, only to return to her husband. Desire is a force in this novel. In the Armenian-American tradition of narrative, where even male desire has not been generously acknowledged (there are prostitutes and masturbation in Voyages, but only as symptoms), the sudden emergence of female desire as a repeatedly empowering force is evidence that this tradition has managed to narrate its way through and past rape, shame, and silence.


This overview has concentrated on long narratives at the expense of short stories and poems, because doing so provided the axis of an indispensable generational analysis. The regrettable, if in this context necessary, neglect of the poetic tradition must be partially redeemed. Like other West Asian cultures, the Armenian is richest in poetry, and that tradition is invoked by the poets who came of age in the 1960s and after. Michael Akillian, Harold Bond, Peter Balakian, Diana Der Hovanessian, and David Kherdian are among those who have written many fine poems. It must be emphasized that a majority of their works, especially Balakian's (technically the most accomplished), have no discernibly Armenian or ethnic concerns. Those that do can be crudely categorized as belonging to either the vatic or the personal lyric tradition.

Der Hovanessian is the prominent oracular poet, who apostrophizes the murdered generations and the land: "O Kovkas/I too have seen your ice glory," she writes ( Selected Poems35). She has also "seen," that is, has read and translated (often with Marzbed Margossian), the work of the major poets killed


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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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