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Multiethnic Literature and Canon Debates
Multiethnic Literature and Canon Debates
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Mary Jo Bona - Editor
Irma Maini - Editor
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 256 pages
Release Date: May 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6761-9
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6761-9

Price: $32.95 
Paperback - 256 pages
Release Date: May 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6762-7
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6762-6

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Examines the making of multiethnic literature and its place both in the classroom and in popular culture.

This groundbreaking collection reinvigorates the debate over the inclusion of multiethnic literature in the American literary canon. While multiethnic literature has earned a place in the curriculum on many large campuses, it is still a controversial topic at many others, as recent campus and corporate revivals of The Great Books attest. Many still perceive multiethnic literature as being governed by ideological and political issues, perpetuating a false distinction between highbrow “literary” texts and multiethnic works.

Through historical overviews and textual analyses, the contributors not only argue for the aesthetic validity of multiethnic literature, but also examine the innovative ways in which multiethnic literature is taught and critiqued. The following questions are also addressed: Who and what determines literary value? What role do scholars, students, the reading public, book awards, and/or publishers play in affirming literary value? Taken together, these essays underscore the necessity for maintaining vibrant conversations about the place of multiethnic literature both inside and outside the academy.

“…what is collected here is very fine indeed. This volume serves well both the novice first surveying the field and the expert hoping to anticipate the horizon.” — MELUS

“The editors agree that until all ‘American’ writers feel a part of a collective experience, the conversations about the canon will continue.” — CHOICE

“This book renews interest in an old question—what is the value of canon reform—by raising a new set of specific questions about the teaching and study of multiethnic literature. It offers a new historiography of multiethnic literature, and raises important questions about the political economy and marketing of multiculturalism.” — Bill V. Mullen, coeditor of Left of the Color Line: Race, Radicalism, and Twentieth-Century Literature of the United States

“The question of what we should study (and why) is always important and timely. This collection comes at the issue from a wide variety of directions—political, social, critical, and pedagogical.” — Joseph T. Skerrett Jr., editor of Literature, Race, and Ethnicity: Contesting American Identities

Contributors include Mary Jo Bona, Sarika Chandra, Kristin Czarnecki, Aureliano Maria DeSoto, Patricia Keefe Durso, June Dwyer, Joe Kraus, John Lowe, Irma Maini, Veronica Makowsky, Stephen Spencer, and Wenying Xu.

Mary Jo Bona is Associate Professor of Italian American Studies and English at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. She is the editor of several books and the author of Claiming a Tradition: Italian American Women Writers. Irma Maini is Assistant Professor of English at New Jersey City University.

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Table of Contents

John Lowe


Introduction: Multiethnic Literature in the Millennium
Mary Jo Bona and Irma Maini


1. From the Road not Taken to the Multi-Lane Highway: MELUS, The Journal
Veronica Makowsky

2. On the Trail of the Chicana/o Subject: Literary Texts and Contexts in the Formation of Chicana/o Studies
Aureliano Maria DeSoto

3. “A House Made with Stones / Full of Stories”: Anthologizing Native American Literature
Kristin Czarnecki


4. “But is it Great?”: The Question of the Canon for Italian American Women Writers
Mary Jo Bona

5. Racial Politics and the Literary Reception of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God
Stephen Spencer

6. De-Centering the Canon: Understanding The Great Gatsby as an Ethnic Novel
Joe Kraus

7. An Exile’s Will to Canon and Its Tension with Ethnicity: Li-Young Lee
Wenying Xu


8. Canon-Openers, Book Clubs, and Middlebrow Culture
June Dwyer

9. From the Boardroom to Cocktail Parties: “Great” Books, Multiethnic Literature, and the Production of the Professional Managerial Class in the Context of Globalization
Sarika Chandra

10. It’s Just Beginning: Assessing the Impact of the Internet on U.S. Multiethnic Literature and the “Canon”
Patricia Keefe Durso


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