The Aesthetic in Asian American WritingEdited by Rocío G. Davis and Sue-Im Lee
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 foreground discussions of genre, canonicity, narrative, and literary value 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.
"The editors and authors have done an excellent job of offering essays that are individually and collectively on point, consistently illuminating, and thoroughly enjoyable—the volume, with respect to this last point, reflects the pleasures and power of aesthetic investigation of which it speaks." – Kandice Chuh, University of Maryland, College Park
"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." —Emory Elliott, University Professor, University of California, Riverside
"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." —Choice
"These scholars effectively critique contemporary multicultural criticism’s inability or unwillingness to encompass the aesthetic." —Melus