How We Found America: Reading Gender Through East European Immigrant Narratives

How We Found America: Reading Gender Through East European Immigrant Narratives

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Author/Contributor(s): Zaborowska, Magdalena J
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Date: 06/19/1995
Binding: Paperback
Condition: NEW

Until now, the East European canon in American literature has been dominated by male dissident figures such as Brodsky, Milosz, and Kundera. Magdalena Zaborowska challenges that canon by demonstrating the contributions of lesser-known immigrant and expatriate women writers from Poland and Russia: Mary Antin, Anzia Yezierska, Elizabeth Stern, Maria Kuncewicz, and Eva Hoffman. She maintains that gendered readings of their novels and autobiographies help us to realize that immigrant women writers offer a special perspective on what it means to leave a homeland, never to be able to truly return, to come as the 'other' to an alien land, and to undergo the multidimensional experience of finding America. Through close examination of the narrative strategies employed by these women, Zaborowksa demonstrates how their works subvert traditional ways of writing and reading the 'official' rhetoric of the American Dream, which so often suppresses 'unofficial' cultural differences. She constructs the immigrant woman's novel as a truly intercultural genre: one that embraces fiction, autobiography, and documentary; one that reflects a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds; and one that foregrounds issues of canon revision, gender identity, and multiculturalism.

Originally published 1995.

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