Emerging trends and voices in Maxine Hong Kingston criticism : The woman warrior and China men in recent scholarship in mainland China /

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Li, Qingjun
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Middle Tennessee State University
This dissertation is an analysis and comparative study of the reception and interpretations of Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior and China Men in the work of four current mainland women scholars of American literature publishing in Chinese: Shi Pingping, Lu Wei, Xue Yufeng, and Chen Xiaohui. I first consider how these scholars have been influenced by both Chinese and Western scholarship, which critical theories have informed their work, and the extent of their familiarity with Western criticism of Kingston. Next, I uncover several ways in which these scholars offer corrections to readings of Kingston done by American interpreters including the association of Kingston with Western feminism, the omission of the significance of Orientalism to Kingston's narrative constructions, and misreadings arising from confusions over Kingston's use of Chinese sources. I offer my judgments about how these scholars as a whole, and individually, contribute to American and Chinese American scholarship on Kingston, either constructively or correctively.
The third move I make in the study is to identify the unique readings these scholars offer of Kingston's work that are not found in American critical scholarship on the works studied. I pay attention to their use of Chinese critical concepts embedded in Chinese culture in approaching an American writer. I analyze the presence of recurring pattern difficulties in Chinese literary scholarship identified by Sau-ling Cynthia Wong.
The patterns I focus on are: essentializing Chinese and American cultures and consciousness; repetitiveness in interpretation, source use and even phrases; mutual citation of each other's work by Chinese scholars; and finally, the extent to which mainland Chinese scholars possess a critical knowledge of the Chinese sources upon which Kingston draws. I conclude that the pattern deficiencies noted by Wong in the work of Chinese scholars of American and Chinese American literature, and Kingston specifically, are moderating. I demonstrate that scholarship on Kingston is maturing in mainland China and that scholars there do make important contributions which shed light on the global dialogue about Chinese American literature and Kingston studies specifically.
Adviser: Elyce Helford.