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Chinese American Literature since the 1850s (Asian American Experience) Hardcover – May 9, 2000

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Editorial Reviews


"A careful study of Chinese-Americans seen through a fascinating reading and documentation of their writing over the past 150 years... It embraces the entire world of Chinese-American literature in both English and Chinese ... [and] demonstrates that bilingual and transnational research is not only most fruitful, but a necessity." -- USA Today "A thought-provoking study of works written in Chinese or English by Chinese American immigrants. The author employs new historicist techniques in offering a detailed historical backdrop for the pieces he examines and at the same time develops a 'social history' of Chinese American life." -- Choice "Yin's literary historical survey ranges from previously unknown to very well known Chinese American writers, detailing a spectrum of vastly diversified Chinese American sensibilities... Non-Chinese-speaking scholars of Asian American literature will appreciate the two chapters on Chinese-language literature in America... Meticulously researched." -- Noreen Groover Lape, College Literature "A much-needed introduction and guide to the field, Yin's book examines how change and continuity in the Chinese American experience are reflected in the writings of immigrantss from China and their descendants in the United States, assessing its style and placing it in a broad social and historical context." -- Occidental Magazine "The text, with its marvellous illustrations, is a useful resource for and a valuable contribution to Chinese American scholarship." -- Colleen Lye, American Literature "By focusing on the writings of one ethnic group during the course of 150 years, Yin is able to offer important insights that trace transformations in immigrant mentalities over time and under varying conditions of law, economic opportunity, and social acceptance, as well as across differences in class, gender, and immigration status. ... Overall, however, this monograph provides newcomers to Asian American history with a lively and wide-ranging introduction to its main themes and some of its most important primary sources, while developing illuminating comparative insights for more informed scholars." -- Madeline Y. Hsu, Journal of Interdisciplinary HistoryADVANCE PRAISE "This is an impressive work of ethnic history and literary history, uncovering a vein of literature, in English and Chinese, which is certainly part of American literature but which has only risen to general notice in the last few decades. Aside from telling us a story that very few of us know, this distinguished work of ethnic history demonstrates how common and parallel are the experiences of ethnic groups in the United States, how similar are the complex reactions of the second generation, even if they come from a culture apparently remote from those from which most Americans come." -- Nathan Glazer, coeditor of Ethnicity: Theory and Experience "Xiao-huang Yin has provided us with a broad survey of Chinese American literature informed by original and illuminating insights... Without question, he has set a new standard for the sociohistorical analysis of Chinese American literature, and scholars of Asian American studies will be indebted to his careful and imaginative scholarship." -- Franklin Ng, author of The Taiwanese Americans "This descriptive study of Chinese literature in America ... is one of the first to explore the uncharted literary map of voices in Chinese between the 1850s and WWII, and as such introduces a new field of study for the serious student." -- Alex Kuo, author of Chinese Opera "Xiao-huang Yin discovers that while Chinese American writers use American writing techniques, artistic forms, themes, and subject matter, they differ from other ethnic and immigrant authors in their sensitivity regarding racism, prejudice, and strong influence of their rich Chinese cultural heritage." -- Sue Fawn Chung, author of The Silver Mountain: A History of the Chinese in Nevada "A truly pioneering and often surprising study of its subject." -- Werner Sollors, author of Beyond Ethnicity

About the Author

Xiao-huang Yin, chair and associate professor of the American Studies Program at Occidental College, is a contributor to Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature, The Outlook for U.S.-China Relations, The Multilingual Anthology of American Literature, Asian American Encyclopadia, and many other books.

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Product Details

  • Series: Asian American Experience
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (May 9, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252025245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252025242
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,312,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Do you know what happened to the altar food left open in the Wild West by early Chinese immigrants? You can find the answer in Xiao-huang Yin's path-breaking book Chinese American Literature since the 1850s. The volume is a careful study on Chinese American cultural and historical experience seen through a fascinating reading and documentation of Chinese American writing over the past 150 years. I think Yin's book is a fine example of what the Chinese call "yasu gongshang," i.e., to be appreciated by both the academic and general audience, perhaps the highest standard for all writing.
Yin has offered to the field of Chinese and Asian American studies the first comprehensive overview of Chinese American literary experience from the beginning of Chinese settlement in North America down to the present time. I believe Yin's book has redefined and enriched our perception of Chinese American literature in two significant ways: first, his research has offered us a fuller and engaging look at the early Chinese immigrant writing of the 19th century, and more importantly, it embraces the entire world of Chinese American literature in both Chinese and English. Although it is the concensus of the field that bilingual and transnational approach is most desirable in Chinese American studies, truly bilingual and transnational research is still very hard to find. Yin demonstrates that bilingual and transnational approach is not only most fruitful but also a necessity in Chinese and Asian American studies. What is most impressive is the sense of balance Yin's commentary achieves in dealing with varied voices, often contending, in the worlds of Chinese America.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book combines the literary approach and the socio-political approach in such a delightful manner that it may be considered as both history of literature and literature on history. As a history, it is amazingly informative of the Chinese Americans' life in the past one and half centuries, their weal and woe, tears and laughters. As literature, it is surprisingly readable, and full of sensible judgments from literary perspectives.
The design of the jacket cover, however, somewhat falls short of doing full justice to the quality of the book. Especially, the Chinese graphs in the background might mislead potential readers to think that Chinese American literature is more Chinese than American, a misconception that the author himself endeavors to correct in the book.
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