Cover for YIN: Chinese American Literature since the 1850s. Click for larger image

Chinese American Literature since the 1850s

The first comprehensive study of Chinese American literature in English and Chinese from the 19th-Century to the present and combines the work of ethnicity specialists with the findings of literary critics offering a fresh understanding of the interrlations between Chine American history and literature.

Chinese American Literature since the 1850s traces the origins and development of the extensive and largely neglected body of literature written in English and in Chinese, assessing its themes and style and placing it in a broad social and historical context. This essential volume, a much-needed introduction and guide to the field, shows how change and continuity in the Chinese American experience are reflected in the writings of immigrants from China and their descendants in the United States.

Using a fresh approach that combines literary and historical scholarship, Xiao-huang Yin covers representative works from the 1850s to the present. These include journalistic and autobiographical texts from nineteenth-century Chinese authors; writings on the walls of Angel Island, the main Asian immigrant arrival point on the West Coast; writings of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century "cultivated Chinese," students and scholars who came to America to advance their educations; and the work of more recent authors who have entered the canon, including Sui Sin Far, Jade Snow Wong, Frank Chin, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Amy Tan.

As the only volume that covers the literature written by immigrant authors in the Chinese language, Xiao-huang Yin's book significantly enlarges the scope of Chinese and Asian American studies. This body of literature, including works by immigrant writers such as Chen Ruoxi, Yu Lihua, and Zhang Xiguo, reflects the high percentage of Chinese Americans for whom the Chinese language remains an integral part of everyday life.

A core text for students and scholars of Asian American studies, Chinese American Literature since the 1850sis an important resource for literary critics, historians, sociologists, and anthropologists interested in diaspora studies, transnationalism, cultural studies, race and ethnicity, and the immigrant experiences in which Chinese American literature is embedded.

"History and literature can act as a twin set of lamps, revealing together what each singly would not have the power to illuminate. Xiao-huang Yin's study . . . connects history and literature to create a framework that . . . sets a new standard for this style of historical analysis."--American Quarterly

"A careful study of Chinese Americans seen through a fascinating reading and documentation of their writing over the past 150 years. . . . [Xiao-huang Yin] demonstrates that bilingual and transnational research is not only most fruitful, but a necessity."--USA Today

Xiao-huang Yin is a professor and chair of the American Studies Program at Occidental College

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