Form as function in Asian American literature
The Aesthetic in Asian American Writing
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edited by Rocío G. Davis and Sue-Im Lee
Outstanding Academic Title, Choice, 2006
Literary Gestures:The Aesthetic in Asian American Writing contests the dominance of materialist and cultural critiques in Asian American literary discourse by re-centering critical attention around issues of aesthetics and literary form. Collapsing the perceived divisions between the "ethnic" and the "aesthetic" in Asian American literary criticism, the eleven original essays in this volume provide theoretically sophisticated and formally sensitive readings of works in prose, poetry, and drama. These contributions bring discussions of genre, canonicity, narrative, and literary value to the fore to show how aesthetic and formal concerns play an important part in the production and consumption of these works. By calling for a more balanced mode of criticism, this collection invites students and scholars to reinvest in the literary, not as a negation of the sociopolitical, but as a complementary strategy in reading and understanding Asian American literature.
"An exciting collection on a subject of immediate importance in several areas of the humanities, Literary Gestures is a powerful response to the call in recent years for the return to the aesthetic, with a difference. Rocío Davis and Sue-Im Lee have produced a path-breaking book on the aesthetic in Asian American writing that immediately transforms the field. A group of outstanding scholar/critics provide reassessments of a range of established and new writings and on compelling topics that are central to the areas of cultural studies, U.S. Studies, and Pan-Pacific literatures. This is essential for anyone working in these interrelated fields."
"A brilliant introduction frames the essays... This groundbreaking book of essays is a must for any scholar of Asian American literary studies, or indeed, ethnic literature in general.... Essential."
"These scholars effectively critique contemporary multicultural criticism’s inability or unwillingness to encompass the aesthetic."
1. Introduction: The Aesthetic in Asian American Literary Discourse Sue-Im Lee
Part I. Asian American Critical Discourse in Academia
Part II. Aesthetics and Ethnicity
Part III. Intertexts: Asian American Writing and Literary Movements
Part IV. Rewriting Form, Reading for New Expression
Rocío G. Davis is Associate Professor of American and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Navarra and author of Transcultural Reinventions: Asian American and Asian Canadian Short-Story Cycles.
Sue-Im Lee is Assistant Professor of English at Temple University.
Contributors: Mita Banerjee, University of Siegen, Germany; Mark Chiang, University of Illinois-Chicago; Patricia P. Chu, George Washington University; Iyko Day, University of California-Berkeley; Donatella Izzo, Universita degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale," Italy; Kimberly M. Jew, Washington & Lee University; Christina Mar, University of California-Riverside; Josephine Nock-Hee Park, University of Pennsylvania; Gita Rajan, Fairfield University; Celestine Woo, Fort Lewis College; and the editors.