J. Stephen Pearson The past few decades have seen the incorporation into American life of one of the most popular figures in Chinese culture: Sun Wukong, the Monkey King. The stories of Monkey and his companions, Sandy, Pigsy and the Buddhist monk Tripitaka, have circulated throughout China for centuries, being told and re-told in numerous oral traditions, written texts, theatrical and operatic performances, movies and television series. In America, the Monkey stories have recently been re-told by David Kherdian, appropriated by Mark Salzman, and adapted both as a serial comic for adults by Milo Manara and Silverio Pisu, and as a children's story by Aaron Shepard, while Monkey himself has shown up as a character in a Sesame Street TV special and as an Office Assistant for Microsoft Office.1 The Monkey tradition is also being established within the American literary canon (that idealized collection of America's most important books, purportedly determined by academics and critics but more plausibly established and updated by major authors through their own literary influences) thanks in large part to the publication of three critically lauded novels from high-caliber authors: Gerald Vizenor's Griever: An American Monkey King in China, which won the 1986 Fiction
Comparative Literature Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Jan 25, 2006
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