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Implanting Foreignness: The Literary Construction of Korean/American Realities


Claudia Neudecker

This book pays tribute to the changing socio-historical context of Asian American Studies and the increasing heterogeneity of the literary outcome. It presupposes that, recently, it has become more appropriate to interrogate the aesthetic strategies with which Korean American authors shape and define Korean/American realities. The title line Implanting Foreignness therefore implicates the potential of literature to create concepts of understanding and to trigger empathic feelings for a foreign culture. Not least, it also applies to the concept of the creative reader according to which the convergence of text as other and reader as self brings the literary work into existence and alters the reader’s perception. The close textual interpretations in this study suggest that alleged facts and troubles of a multicultural US in the 21 st century are countered with fictional answers in the selected Korean American texts.
Contents: The Challenge of Adjustment: The Socio-Historical Context of Asian American Studies – Transgressing Boundaries: The Aesthetics of Korean American Literature – A Korean American Success Story? Younghill Kang, East Goes West: The Making of an Oriental Yankee – A Literary Creation of Asianness: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictée (1982) – The Obsession with Language: Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker (1995) – Traumatic Minds: Susan Choi, The Foreign Student (1998) – Post-Ethnicity as Desideratum? A Short Excursion: Chang-rae Lee’s Aloft (2004) – Beyond Literary Concepts of Assimilation and Marking Cultural Difference.