Literary Precedents for China Men

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The one book which Kingston admits is a major influence on her work is William Carlos Williams' In the American Grain: "I wish I had written it," she remarked. She admires the way "Williams has told the American history poetically and, it seems to me, truly. In a way, I feel that I have continued that book."

Nathaniel Hawthorne is another writer who imaginatively reinterpreted American experience. If not a direct influence, he certainly was Kingston's predecessor in retelling American history allegorically and poetically. Like Kingston, Hawthorne possessed a deep appreciation of the power the past holds over daily life.

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