Ethnic American Literature
An Encyclopedia for Students
by Emmanuel S. Nelson, Editor
February 2015, 570pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-880-1
$121, £94, 106€, A166
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-881-8
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Multicultural literature reflects the contemporary American experience, yet its importance is often overlooked.

Unlike any other book of its kind, this volume celebrates published works from a broad range of American ethnic groups not often featured in the typical canon of literature.

This culturally rich encyclopedia contains 160 alphabetically arranged entries on African American, Asian American, Latino/a, and Native American literary traditions, among others. The book introduces the uniquely American mosaic of multicultural literature by chronicling the achievements of American writers of non-European descent and highlighting the ethnic diversity of works from the colonial era to the present.

The work features engaging topics like the civil rights movement, bilingualism, assimilation, and border narratives. Entries provide historical overviews of literary periods along with profiles of major authors and great works, including Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Maya Angelou, Sherman Alexie, A Raisin in the Sun, American Born Chinese, and The House on Mango Street. The book also provides concise overviews of genres not often featured in textbooks, like the Chinese American novel, African American young adult literature, Mexican American autobiography, and Cuban American poetry.


  • Highlights the most important print and electronic resources on multicultural literature through a detailed bibliography
  • Features entries from 50 contributors, all of whom are experts in their fields
  • Includes cultural works not often highlighted in traditional textbooks, such as Iranian American literature, Dominican American literature, and Puerto Rican American literature
Emmanuel S. Nelson is professor of English at the State University of New York campus at Cortland. His published works include Greenwood's The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature; Contemporary African American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook; and Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States .


"This single-volume encyclopedia provides an introduction to unique and specific topics that may not have as extensive coverage in other works."—Booklist, June 9, 2015

"[T]he encyclopedia contributes to a broadening of the American canon to serve as a resource for teachers and students alike. . . . Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduates, community college students, and teachers."—Choice, October 1, 2015

"I enthusiastically recommend this reference work for all academic libraries. Students of literature at all levels—from enrollees in introductory courses to advanced researchers—will find it informative, enlightening, and useful. The entries in this work will enhance and enable further understanding of the complex matrix of connections, interactions and negotiations that, taken together, constitute America’s literary heritage."—Reference Reviews, August 1, 2016
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