chapter  13
14 Pages

Writing at the Crossroads: The Black Atlantic, Transnation, and Virginia Woolf in Biyi Bandele’s The Street


This chapter examines Taiwanese or Chinese immigrant writer Liu Daren and considers his and his characters obsession with China as what critic's term "racial melancholia". Juxtaposing the racial melancholia of Liu's characters with their symptoms of male hysteria, after David Eng, The author aims to delve into the subtle forms of racialization post-1965 immigrants from China or Taiwan have to confront. The presence of highly transnational Taiwanese Americans speaks to the "double logic" of transnationalism. While United States military interferences and cultural imperialism may be exerting a homogenizing impact on Asian countries, they are also reinforcing heterogeneity within US national borders, exemplified in the multilingual writing and subcultures of multi-rooted immigrants. The etiology of racial melancholia to US exclusion legislation and practices, the causes of male hysteria seem more intangible. The inadequacy Liu's male protagonists feel in their attempts to blend into US society can be better understood through the lens of Chinese obsession, racial melancholia, and male hysteria.