Cover for SUI SIN FAR: Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings

Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings

This volume reprints stories from Mrs. Spring Fragrance, along with other previously uncollected stories and journalistic essays by the first published Asian North American fiction writer.

During an era of extreme Sinophobia, the Eurasian Sui Sin Far (1865-1914) courageously chose to write of the Chinese in North America as humorous, tragic, charming, and loving--in short, as human. Her stories sympathetically portray a group caught between worlds, inheritors of traditional Chinese values who find themselves thrust into boomingly mercantile and extremely race-conscious cities, such as San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and Montreal, at the turn of the last century.

Offering an introduction that situates Sui Sin Far in her historical and literary contexts, Amy Ling and Annette White-Parks select from Mrs. Spring Fragrance (1914) two dozen of the finest stories, including "In the Land of the Free," "The Story of One White Woman Who Married a Chinese," "Her Chinese Husband," and "The Wisdom of the New," as well as (from the "Tales for Chinese Children" section) "The Story of a Little Chinese Seabird" and "What about the Cat?" The second portion contains previously uncollected writings, including journalism and fiction that appeared in the Montreal Daily Witness, Los Angeles Express, New York Independent, The Westerner, and New England Magazine. The final piece, "Sui Sin Far, the Half Chinese Writer, Tells of Her Career," was printed in the Boston Globe in 1912, two years before her death.


Amy Ling, professor of English and director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the author of Between Worlds: Women Writers of Chinese Ancestry. Annette White-Parks, an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, is the author of Sui Sin Far/Edith Maude Eaton: A Literary Biography.

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