© 2020

Ecocriticism and Asian American Literature

Gold Mountains, Weedflowers and Murky Globes


Part of the Literatures, Cultures, and the Environment book series (LCE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Begoña Simal-González
    Pages 1-26
  3. Begoña Simal-González
    Pages 27-42
  4. Begoña Simal-González
    Pages 43-88
  5. Begoña Simal-González
    Pages 207-266
  6. Begoña Simal-González
    Pages 267-269
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 271-273

About this book


Ecocriticism and Asian American Literature: Gold Mountains, Weedflowers and Murky Globes offers an ecocritical reinterpretation of Asian American literature. The book considers more than a century of Asian American writing, from Eaton’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance (1912) to Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being (2013), through an ecocritical lens. The volume explores the most relevant landmarks in Asian American literature: the first-contact narratives written by Bulosan, Kingston, Mukherjee and Jen; the controversial texts published by Sui Sin Far (Edith Eaton) at the time of the Yellow Peril; the rise of cultural nationalism in the 1970s and 1980s, illustrated by Wong’s Homebase and Kingston’s China Men; old and recent examples of “internment literature” dealing with the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII (Sone, Houston, Miyake, Kadohata); and the new trends in Asian American literature since the 1990s, exemplified by Yamashita’s and Ozeki’s novels, which explore the challenges of our transnational, transnatural era. Begoña Simal-González’s ecocritical readings of these texts provide crucial interdisciplinary insights, addressing and analyzing important narratives within Asian American culture and literature. 


ecocritical reading literature and the environment Asian American Literature Chinese American literature Japanese American literature Japanese internment literature Maxine Hong Kingston Edith Eaton

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Universidade de CoruñaA Coruña, GaliciaSpain

About the authors

Begoña Simal-González is Professor and Head of the American Studies Research Group (CLEU), at the Universidade da Coruña, Spain. Her research focuses on Asian American literature, globalization and ecocriticism. 


Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Ecocriticism and Asian American Literature
  • Book Subtitle Gold Mountains, Weedflowers and Murky Globes
  • Authors Begoña Simal-González
  • Series Title Literatures, Cultures, and the Environment
  • Series Abbreviated Title Literatures, Cultures, and the Environment
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-35617-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-35620-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-35618-7
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 273
  • Number of Illustrations 2 b/w illustrations, 4 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Asian Literature
    Literary Theory
    Environmental Communication
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Nothing could be further from the ‘add-ecocriticism-and-stir’ approach to literary studies than Begoña Simal-González’s engaging, erudite, and utterly unpredictable book. Rereading key works of Chinese American and Japanese American literature through the twin lenses of critical race theory and ecocriticism, Simal-González excavates time- and place-specific botanical and zoological imaginaries deeply embedded in texts that are not explicitly about nature. Though I’ve been reading and teaching works by Sui Sin Far, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Karen Tei Yamashita for decades, Simal-González’s theoretically informed close readings, which tease out the ‘environmental unconscious,’ made me see those works anew. The magisterial scope of this study, which reaches back to the 1880s and goes as far forward as the 2010s, allows Simal-González to show a wide range of literary deployments of nature, from Sui Sin Far’s anti-racist plant and animal imagery to Chinese railroad and agricultural workers’ imagined community with the land they transformed through their labor.”

Dominika Ferens, Associate Professor, University of Wroclaw, Poland, and author of Edith and Winnifred Eaton (2002)


“A landmark text, uniquely comprehensive in its scope, Ecocriticism and Asian American Literature engages a conversation long overdue—transforming both ecocriticism and Asian American literary studies in the process. Begoña Simal-González’s thoughtful approach returns us to such issues as farming, internment, cultural nationalism, and transnationalism and diaspora, resituating these in a robustly historical environmental context. Essential reading for those interested in environmental justice in American literature.”

—Molly Wallace, Associate Professor, Queen's University, Canada, and author of Risk Criticism (2016)


“Begoña Simal-González's book on ecocriticism is a most welcome addition to Asian American literary studies. All the writers included in the volume are not only unique voices that deserve a formal hearing but also pioneers in ecological interventions, as Professor Simal-González so persuasively demonstrated in her book.”

King-Kok Cheung, Professor of English and Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, USA, and author of Chinese American Literature without Borders (2016)