Prof M Sledge is teaching EWL 424: Studies in a Single Author, and has chosen Maxine Hong Kingston for this semester’s exploration. Hong Kingston is a Chinese-American writer, and Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with a BA in English in 1962. She’s received several national and prestigious awards including the National Book Award and the National Medal of Arts. Since graduating from Berkeley she’s written several acclaimed texts, essays, and collections of poetry, and continues to write from her home state of California.
When asked why she chose this author at this moment, Prof Sledge first stated how much she personally likes Hong Kingston’s work. “I enjoy the themes that she plays with… and while those themes get explored in other classes this class makes them more direct.” She also noted that Hong Kingston isn’t often studied beyond her most famous text, The Woman Warrior.
In Tuesday’s class the students compared two of the author’s texts, The Woman Warrior
and China Men,
which the author thought of as companions. Students used visual representations such as timelines, family trees, and geographical maps to see how the texts overlap in time, space and theme. #checkitout
Prof Sledge noted that the themes of feminism, peace activism and writing as activism are all extremely relevant, making Hong Kinston a very timely choice for this moment. “Other authors can work in these themes successfully, but she is often over looked.” She especially noted how Hong Kingston fuses genres, melding myth, non-fiction and fiction, to write texts that aren’t quite novels or memoirs or fairy tales, but something overlapping.
That’s all from the land of book lovers, activists and deep thinkers here at the 255. Enjoy the autumn chill in the air, or cling to summer, whichever floats your boat. Whatever vibe you’re choosing here in #libraseason and #officiallyautumn, be kind to yourself and all those you encounter on your journey.