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Race CharactersEthnic Literature and the Figure of the American Dream$
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Swati Rana

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469659473

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469659473.001.0001

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Superman of America vs. Ameen Rihani

Superman of America vs. Ameen Rihani

The Hyperproduction of Character

(p.42) Chapter One Superman of America vs. Ameen Rihani
Race Characters

Swati Rana

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores the character of the imperialist immigrant that Ameen Rihani represents in his early work. Beginning with an epistolary volume, Letters to Uncle Sam, written from 1917 to 1919, this chapter focuses on The Book of Khalid (1911), a picaresque novel whose titular protagonist seeks as the “Superman of America” to found an Arab empire on the American model. This chapter analyzes the hyperproduction of character in the manic figure of Khalid and its reframing by a wry Editor, essentially the character function of Rihani. It demonstrates how Rihani indicts the American dream and the impossible identifications to which diasporic subjects and Arab Americans in particular are subjected.

Keywords:   Imperialist Immigrant, Ameen Rihani, Epistolary, Letters to Uncle Sam, The Book of Khalid (1911), Picaresque, “Superman of America”, Empire, Hyperproduction, Arab Americans

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