Historical Dictionary of Asian American Literature and Theater
Booklist Reviews 2012 August #1
The Historical Dictionary of Asian American Literature and Theater is a concise, wide-ranging introduction to a diverse subject area. The work includes more than 600 entries, covering authors, theater groups, genres, major works, terms, subgroups, and historical events. The volume's impressive coverage of Asian American theater groups and emerging authors of Afghan, Cambodian, Hmong, and Laotian descent sets it apart from earlier reference works on Asian American literature. Despite its impressive scope, author Xu notes in the introduction that the volume does not include authors of western Asian or Middle Eastern ancestry. The work is easy to navigate, with many cross-references—names of biographees with their own entries are in boldface type in other entries, making it easy for the reader to note related entries and flip back and forth. A lengthy bibliography at the end of the work provides users with a comprehensive introduction to Asian American literature anthologies as well as literary criticism for more than 60 of the authors covered in the book. This source differs from other recent reference works on Asian American literature, such as Facts On File's one-volume Encyclopedia of Asian-American Literature (2007) and Greenwood's three-volume Asian American Literature (2009), in its inclusion of Asian American theater and theater groups and in its coverage of Southeast Asian American writers, such as Bryan Thao Worra and Dia Cha (not included in the earlier encyclopedias). However, as it is a dictionary, not an encyclopedia, the entries are brief and, as previously noted, do not cover authors of Middle Eastern ancestry, such as Naomi Shihab Nye. There are a few typos in the dictionary (referring to Susan Choi's novel A Person of Interest as A Personal Interest, for example), and students looking for a lengthier introduction to such authors as Wendy Law-Yone or Jessica Hagedorn would be better served by the Greenwood set, but this work is a far-reaching, reasonably priced introduction to the growing field of Asian American literature. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2012 August #1
Xu (Eating Identities) gathers information on the literary figures, characters, works, terms, movements, and groups that have shaped Asian—including South and Southeast Asian—literature and theater. The 600 alphabetized entries are approximately a paragraph in length each, offer a brief biography or overview of significance, and also include contemporary figures. A fabulous resource for students; veteran researchers will find the 84-page bibliography, judiciously organized by source and theme, a useful springboard to further reading. VERDICT An important addition.—Savannah Schroll-Guz, formerly with Smithsonian Libs., Washington, DC[Page 123]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.