A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific

A Floating Chinaman Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific 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

  • Title: A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific
  • Author: Hua Hsu
  • ISBN: 9780674967908
  • Page: 353
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 AmericaWho 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 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.

    One thought on “A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific”

    1. A really interesting investigation into who shaped the narrative on China in America, as well as how and why. It also takes a look at the figure of the Chinese-American in these narratives and how they served those who were crafting these images for the mainstream American to consume. Hua Hsu meaningfully presents Tsiang, Buck and other 'experts' on China in conjunction together to display the landscape of 'China' in the American imagination in the mid-20th century.

    2. (2 and 1-2 stars) This is an academic book about popular culture, focusing on two writers of the 30s who tried to explain or decipher the "mystery" of the Chinese and Chinese-Americans for an American audience. One is Pearl Buck, a Caucasian born in China to missionary parents, who wrote The Good Earth, a novel that romanticized Chinese peasants and which made her a literary superstar who is still read today. The other is H. T. Tsiang, a Chinese immigrant who wrote strange, experimental novels w [...]

    3. Just read the sample, an interesting take on this part of history, however, due to different way of spelling, if the author could add the Chinese characters to those names, it would be wonderful for the readers, in particular those Chinese readers, to check the historical references… will buy and read through. Thanks to the author.

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