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(Breaking out of) the "Literary Ghetto": Where to Place Asian American Writers, Or De-essentializing Canon Formation

Silvia Schultermandl
Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies (HJEAS)
Vol. 14, No. 2 (Fall, 2008), pp. 287-302
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41274431
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
(Breaking out of) the "Literary Ghetto": Where to Place Asian American Writers, Or De-essentializing Canon Formation
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Abstract

This essay looks at what we call, given its alleged idiosyncrasies and culturespecific traditions, the "Asian American canon" for cues about whether we read, receive, label, and therefore canonize Asian American literature mostly for its depictions of gender and ethnicity. The main question this paper pursues is: when reading Asian American literature, to what extend do we canonize the authors rather than their texts. For instance, authors' "authenticity" and "cultural competence" seem as important as their conformity to existing patterns in Asian American literature. Considering the abundance of recent publication by Asian American writers, this essay also investigates who makes the canon of Asian American literature, that is, who decides which books are indicative of trends in Asian American literature and which authors may be considered as representative of these trends.

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