Many Voices

Ethnic Literatures of the Americas

The literature of the Americas has a variety of cultural elements present under the general term "American." The canonical English mainstream of North America and the corresponding Spanish/Portuguese mainstream of South America have nevertheless reflected the arrival, assimilation, and marginality of numerous groups. Their experiences are both unique and representative of universal conditions of cultural contact and conflict. In both the United States and Canada, there are works which represent diverse aspects of the Black, Irish, Italian, Hispanic or Latino, Franco, German, Jewish, Portuguese, Greek, Slavic, and Asian communities, among others, as writers give both creative and testimonial form to the realities, both past and present of groups arriving subsequent to the original colonial period. In Latin America, some of these same groups are represented in the fiction written in Spanish and Portuguese. While this series focuses on specific ethnic groups and/or individual representatives, the fictional and poetic texts therein may address a range of issues, among them race relations, language and bilingualism, nationalism, colonialism, gender, class, cultural conflict, identity and maintenance, the context of multiculturalism. Critical approaches may include ethnocriticism, historical analyses, others, as well as structural critiques of these sorts of texts which by the very nature of their multiple focus become the aesthetic model for their content: a sort of border, mixed-blood, metis linguistic mode that in turn requires a double vision of its readers and critics.