A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific

A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific

By: Hua Hsu (author)Hardback

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Who gets to speak for China? During the interwar years, when American condescension toward barbarous China yielded to a fascination with all things Chinese, a circle of writers sparked an unprecedented public conversation about American-Chinese relations. Hua Hsu tells the story of how they became ensnared in bitter rivalries over which one could claim the title of America s leading China expert.

The rapturous reception that greeted The Good Earth Pearl Buck s novel about a Chinese peasant family spawned a literary market for sympathetic writings about China. Stories of enterprising Americans making their way in a land with four hundred million customers, as Carl Crow said, found an eager audience as well. But on the margins in Chinatowns, on Ellis Island, and inside FBI surveillance memos a different conversation about the possibilities of a shared future was taking place.

A Floating Chinaman takes its title from a lost manuscript by H. T. Tsiang, an eccentric Chinese immigrant writer who self-published a series of visionary novels during this time. Tsiang discovered the American literary market to be far less accommodating to his more skeptical view of U.S.-China relations. His floating Chinaman, unmoored and in-between, imagines a critical vantage point from which to understand the new ideas of China circulating between the world wars and today, as well.


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About Author

Hua Hsu is Associate Professor in the English Department at Vassar College.

Product Details

  • publication date: 07/06/2016
  • ISBN13: 9780674967908
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 244
  • ID: 9780674967908
  • weight: 499
  • ISBN10: 0674967909

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