The Literary Voices of Winnifred Eaton: Redefining Ethnicity and Authenticity

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Winnifred Eaton, better known under her Japanese-sounding pseudonym, Onoto Watanna, published over a dozen novels and hundreds of short stories, articles, and screenplays during the first half of the twentieth century. However, by the time of her death in 1954, most of her books were out of print.

Eaton attempted to disguise her Chinese heritage by writing under a hypothetically Japanese pen name. In legal documents, she usually claimed a "white" racial identity. In her fiction, Eaton portrayed Japanese, Chinese, Irish, and American characters, relying on the accepted stereotypes of the day. Jean Lee Cole shows that the many voices Eaton adopted show her deep preoccupations with "American" identity as a whole. The author attempts to reconcile all of these "voices," examining how Eaton survived in a climate hostile to minority writers in the early twentieth century, and how her seemingly anomalous works conjoin Asian American and American literary history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813530864
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.84 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Guided by Voices 1
1 Hiding Behind Shoji: Winnifred Eaton as Onoto Watanna 16
2 Not Quite At Home: Exploring the Domestic Space 42
3 Me: A Book of Remembrance and the "Woman of Genius" 79
4 Claiming the Big Country: The Alberta Novels 104
5 Sound Effects: Voicing Film 129
Epilogue 150
Notes 159
Bibliography 173
Filmography 195
Index 199
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