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Realism for the MassesAesthetics, Popular Front Pluralism, and U.S. Culture, 1935-1947$
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Chris Vials

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781604731231

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604731231.001.0001

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Asian Yeomen and Ugly Americans

Asian Yeomen and Ugly Americans

Carlos Bulosan, H. T. Tsiang and the U.S. Literary Market

(p.110) Chapter Four Asian Yeomen and Ugly Americans
Realism for the Masses

Vials Chris

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter aims to examine Bulosan’s nationalistic deployment of both “America” and the Philippines, as well as Tsiang’s nationalistic deployment of China, which are central to their unique configurations of global and national within the Popular Front. The goal is to highlight the kind of Asian American transnational politics that was possible within the U.S. literary market in the 1930s and 1940s. For writers Bulosan and Tsiang, to be legible as a “realist” was a major prerequisite for visibility. Bulosan and Tsiang’s experiences were very different when it came to finding an audience for their transnational projects. While Tsiang fled China on account of his left-leaning political activities and faced poverty and the ire of both the U.S. and Chinese governments, Bulosan had consistent access to mainstream newspapers and journals, where he was warmly received until a plagiarism case destroyed his literary reputation in 1946.

Keywords:   transnational politics, Carlos Bulosan, H. T. Tsiang, Popular Front, U.S. literary market

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