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Author Hsu, Hua, 1977- author.

Title A floating Chinaman : fantasy and failure across the Pacific / Hua Hsu
Published Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2016


Description 1 online resource (276 pages)
Contents Introduction: What means the world to you? -- Theoretical China -- Naive melody -- Four hundred million customers -- Pink flag -- Down and out in New York City -- Pacific crossings -- Too big to fail -- Conclusion: The floaters
Summary "A Floating Chinaman is, in the broadest sense, a book about who gets to speak for China. The title is taken from a lost manuscript by H.T. Tsiang, a Chinese immigrant writer who self-published a series of visionary novels in the 1930s, a time when China was recast as a rich, unexplored mystery to the American public. At this time the United States "rediscovered" China, and the book traces its causes and cues in a variety of sites: the comfortable, middlebrow literature of Pearl Buck, Alice Tisdale Hobart and Lin Yutang; the journalism of Carl Crow and Henry Luce; exuberant reports from oil executives proclaiming a new era in global trade. On the margins--in Chinatowns, on college campuses, in the failed avant-gardism of Tsiang--a different conversation about the possibilities of a transpacific future was taking place. The book is about the circulation of ideas about China; but it is also a book about writers, rivalries, and the acquisition of authority. It is about the creation and refinement of those ideas, as well as the spirit of competition that underlies all critical endeavors. These were decades when China represented a new area of inquiry, and the stakes for writers to flex their expertise were at once intellectual, professional, and deeply personal. The author considers a range of texts--from best-sellers to self-published paperbacks, travel literature to corporate newsletters, FBI surveillance files to flowery letters from an Ellis Island detention center--and considers the competing notions of a transpacific future that animated the literary imagination as well as some satisfying moments of revenge."--Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Hua Hsu is Associate Professor in the English Department at Vassar College
In English
Print version record
Subject Tsiang, H. T., 1899-1971.
Tsiang, H. T., 1899-1971
Public opinion in literature.
Authors and publishers -- United States -- History -- 20th century
HISTORY -- Asia -- China.
LITERARY CRITICISM -- American -- Asian American.
Authors and publishers
Diplomatic relations
Public opinion, American
Public opinion in literature
China -- Foreign public opinion, American -- History -- 20th century
United States -- Foreign relations -- China
China -- Foreign relations -- United States
United States
Genre/Form History
Form Electronic book
ISBN 9780674969285