Retold stories, untold histories : Maxine Hong Kingston and Leslie Marmon Silko on the politics of imagining the past by Joanna Ziarkowska
Call Number: ebook
Publication Date: 2013-01-01
Retold Stories, Untold Histories concentrates on how challenging questions concerning the nature of historical representation, the formation of national/ethnic identities, and creative agendas are addressed in the diverse and inspiring writings of Maxine Hong Kingston and Leslie Marmon Silko. The rationale behind juxtaposing two writers coming from diverse cultural contexts originates in the fact that both Kingston and Silko share the experience of historical and cultural marginalization and, more importantly, devise similar methods of rendering it in creative writing. Writing from the perspective of two distinct marginalized groups, Kingston and Silko share the view that the official version of national history may be seen as a narrative of misrepresentation and the exclusion of people who either greatly contributed to the building of the country or occupied the territory of the present United States long before its creation. In their texts, both writers engage in a polemic against a history that, using its legitimizing power as a scientific discipline, produces and perpetuates stereotypical images of Chinese and Native Americans, and, more importantly, eliminates the two groups from the process of constructing the national narratives of origins that monitor and control the borders of what constitutes American identity. Despite apparent differences in cultural and historical contexts, Kingston and Silko share an enthusiasm for employing unconventional tools and sources for offering creative reconstructions of a past which had been silenced or repressed.