A SURVEY OF MULTICULTURAL SAN FRANCISCO BAY LITERATURE, 1955-1979 Ishmael Reed, Maxine Hong Kingston, Frank Chin, and the Beat Generation

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Awarded the Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship
This work examines how writers in the San Francisco Bay Area worked to develop a multiculturalist American literature. This study counteracts popular narratives of multiculturalism’s boom in the late 1980s and early 1990s by showing that a large group of culturally eclectic writers in the Bay Area were re-envisioning American identity through a multiculturalist looking glass many years earlier.


“Flota’s work is undeniably an original contribution to regional and national multicultural literary studies.” – Prof. Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure, University of Northern Iowa

“. . . a wonderful work that gives the old notion of literary regionalism a new and exciting spin. . . . Flota takes readers on a vivid journey through the works of well known writers, including Allen Ginsberg, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Ishmael Reed, as well as less celebrated but important artists who formed the Pocho-Che and Third World collectives in the 1960s. Flota’s book is an important contribution, not merely to our understanding of such contested terms such as 'multicultural,' but to our grasp of how a lively group of politically engaged writers engaged in innovative artistic practices that indelibly influenced American literature.” – Prof. Gayle Wald, George Washington University

“Flota writes honestly. He praises the daring innovations of the Beats but also criticizes their exclusionary vision which romanticized as much as understood the artistic outpouring of non-white cultures in the United States.” – Prof. Bruce Allen Dick, Appalachian State University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Reimagining San Francisco, Rethinking Multiculturalism
2. The West of My Future: The San Francisco Bay Area’s Ascent to Cultural Capitol
3. Thrivin’ from a Riff: Charlie Parker as Multicultural Icon?
4. You Hear it in Beatween: San Francisco After the Beats
5. The Reader of a New America: Ishmael Reed’s Literary Gombo Févi
6. Those Rumbles You Hear on the Horizon: The Realized Communities of the Literary Bay Area in the 1970s
7. We Are Going to Carve Revenge on Your Back: Frank Chin and Maxine Hong Kingston’s Bay Area
8. Shortcomings of the Westward Movement
9. Don’t Look Back?: Kingston, Reed, and Chin from a Distance

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