Tan, Amy: The Kitchen God's Wife
(researched by Leslie Seals)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
1.Amy Tan. The Kitchen Godís Wife. New York, NY: C.P. Putnamís Sons, 1991. Copyright Statement: 1991 by Amy Tan Published simultaneously in Canada Sources: *Virgo *First Edition *Gaskell's A New Introduction to Bibliography National Union Catalog WorldCat
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
2.The first American edition is published in paper with a trade cloth binding. Sources: *First Edition *Gaskell
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
4. 208 leaves, p. [1-10] 11-55 [56-57] 58-394 [395-396] 397-416 Sources: *Gaskell
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
5. The author dedicates the book: To my mother, Daisy Tan, and her happy memories of my father, John (1914-1968), and my brother Peter (1950-1967) with love and respect Amy Tanís The Joy Luck Club is advertised on the page adjacent to the title page. Sources: *First Edition *Alderman Edition
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
6. Print found on p. iii, ix, 56 and 395 of an illustrated gray flower with a long, thin stem and several leaves outlined by a curvaceous, thin gray boarder. On page iii, the title, authorís, and publisherís name appear. The illustratorís name does not appear within the book. Sources: *First Edition
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
8. Measurement of Page: 22.5 c.m. x 14.5c.m. Measurement of Margins: Top and Side, 2c.m.. Bottom, 2.5c.m. Space with Text per Page: 11îx 1î Type Size: 90R Further Description of Typography: The physical presentation of the test is attractive, easily readable, the text is set in Times New Roman and was designed by MaryJane DiMassi (as noted on the copyright page). Sources: *Gaskell
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
10. The book is printed on acid free paper (as noted on the copyright page). The book is printed on wove paper (with an even, granulated texture) and consists throughout. On the first edition not located in Special Collections, the coloring of the pages has yellowed around the edges, whereas the center has remained creamy, pale yellow. There are a few tears along the top of several pages and some have also been ìdog-eared.î Staining is minimal, if at all. The quality of the paper of the book in Special Collections is a creamy, pale yellow; there are no visible tears, pencil marks; the book is in pristine condition. Sources: *Gaskell
11 Description of binding(s)
11. Dust Jacket The dust jacket found on the book in Special Collections was designed by Lisa Amoroso and illustrated by Gretchen Schields (as listed on the back inside flap of the dust jacket). AMY TAN | author of THE JOY LUCK CLUB | The KITCHEN GODíS WIFE appear on the front of the dust jacket. The background is of a brilliant blue, with red, gold, and green being the primary colors. A red border with gold Chinese outlines an oranamental teapot, teacup, a pink magnolia, and four large oranges placed at the bottom of the book. The spine of the dust jacket is outlined in gold and yellow with AMY TAN The KITCHEN GODíS WIFE Putnam running horizontally in white and yellow lettering respectively. A black and white photo of Amy Tan is located on the back of the dust jacket (the photographer, Robert Foothorap is credited on the back flap). A brief synopsis of the book is located on the inside flaps of the dust jacket. Binding Material: Linen textured cloth, not embossed. Color: Hue: Yellow, Value Modifier: Pale, Neutral Shade: White Stamping: None Illustrations: A small tree appears in the upper left center of the bind. Endpapers: Greenish blue without images or wording. Transcription of the spine: AMY TAN | THE KITCHEN GODíS WIFE | PUTNAM of the front cover: a copper square stamp in the upper center of the book with AMY TAN and a Chinese lettering and/or picture. Sources: Gaskell
12 Transcription of title page
12. Recto: THE | KITCHEN | GODíS | WIFE | AMY TAN | G.P. PUTNAMíS SONS NEW YORK Verso: Copyright 1991 by Amy Tan Sources: *Gaskell
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
The manuscripts are unavailable. Sources: National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections www.penguinpublishersweekly.com WorldCat
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
15. In the first edition located in the Alderman Library, the University of Virginia has added a scanner sticker to the front cover as well as a call number adhesive to the spine. A University of Virginia | Charlottesville | Library is stamped on the inside of the front cover. A librarianís handwriting lists the call number on the copyright page. In the first edition in Special Collections, a UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA | LIBRARY | RARE BOOKS card is present of the inside of the back cover. A librarian has written the call number and Presidential Opportunity Fund. Sources: *First Edition *Alderman Edition
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
N/A Sources: WorldCat Publisherís Weekly National Union Catalogue
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
N/A Sources: Publisherís Weekly National Union Catalog
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
The Kitchen God's Wife. Tan, Amy. Franklin Center, Pa. : Franklin Library, 1991 The Kitchen God's Wife. Tan, Amy. New York : Ivy Books, 1992, 1991 The Kitchen God's Wife. Tan, Amy. Thorndike, Me. : Thorndike Press, 1991 The Kitchen God's Wife. Tan, Amy. New York : Vintage, 1993, 1991 Sources: Eureka National Union Catalogue *WorldCat
6 Last date in print?
2001 New York, NY: Ivy Books, 2001 Sources: *Books in Print Book Reviews
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
A list of the total copies sold is unavailable. Sources: Publisherís Weekly
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
The sales figures are unavailable. Sources: WorldCat Publisherís Weekly The New York Times
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Amy Tan conducted numerous television, magazine, and newspaper interviews prior to the release of The Kitchen Godís Wife. Sources: *WorldCat Publisher's Weekly *Glamour *Time *New York Times
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
Other promotional advertisments could not be found. Sources: WorldCat Publisher's Weekly LexisNexis
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Although Amy Tan declined offers for a movie version of her book, she recorded the story on audiotapes. They are available through a few distributors. The Kitchen God's Wife. Tan, Amy. Beverly Hills, CA :; Dove Audio, 1991 Amy Tan two-pack. Tan, Amy. Los Angeles, CA :; Dove Audio :; Produced and distributed by NewStar Pub., 1998 In addition to the audio accompaniments, two women also published dissertations on Amy Tanís novels: Chinese women's narrative:Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, and The Hundred Secret Senses. Jeong, Young Sook. 1999. Women Becoming: A Feminist Critical Analysis of Mother-Daughter Relationships in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's Wife. Curton, Carman C. 1993. Sources: *The New York Times *WorldCat
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
A esposa do Deus do fogo. Tan, Amy. Lisboa : EdiÁıes ASA, 1993. Eshet el ha-mitbah. Tan, Amy.; Elëazar, Tsilah. Tel Aviv : Mahbarot le-sifrut, 1992. Kitchin gozzu waifu. Tan, Amy.; Ozawa, Mizuho. Tokyo : Kadokawa Shoten, 1995, 1992. K¯kkengudens hustru. Tan, Amy. Copenhagen Valby : Borgen, 1992. La dona del dÈu de la cuina. Tan, Amy.; Porta i Arnau, Mireia. Barcelona : Columna, 1995. La esposa del dios del fuego. Tan, Amy. Barcelona : CÌrculo de Lectores, 1991. Puokësin ui Anae. Tan, Amy.; Kong, Gyong-hui. Soul : Dae hung, 1992. Ujaq i hamishih rushan. Tan, Amy.; Yaghmai, Aqdas.; Muttahdin, Zhalih. Tihran, Iran : Ruwshangaran ,1998. Zah shen zhi qi. Tan, Amy. Fuzhou: Hai xia wen yi chu ban she chu ban fa xing ; Fujian sheng xin hua shu dian jing xiao, 1992. Zena boga kuhinje. Tan, Amy. Zagreb : Targa, 1995. Zona kuchennego boga. Tan, Amy.; Jaworska, Ryszarda. Warszawa : PrÛszynski i S-ka, 1998. Sources: *WorldCat
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
Although there is not a specified order of Amy Tanís novels, The Kitchen Godís Wife is the follow-up to the immensely popular bestseller, The Joy Luck Club. The Joy Luck Club. Tan, Amy. New York: G.P. Putnamís Sons, 1989. Sources: *WorldCat
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Amy Tan is one of the most well known Asian American writers of the twentieth century. Her works include best-selling novels The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, and The Moon Lady. Though her gift as a writer has gained much notoriety throughout the years, Amy Tan was not encouraged in her youth to pursue the endeavor. Amy Tan was born in 1952 to John and Daisy Tan in Oakland, California. Tan was the middle child: older brother Peter was born in 1950 and John followed in 1954. Tan moved frequently during her youth, throughout the United States and into Europe. While traveling with her family, Tan struggled to find her identity as a Chinese-American. Like thousands of Asian Americans, Amy Tan spent her childhood years attempting to understand, as well as to come to terms with and to reconcile, the contradictions between her ethnicity and the dominant Western culture in which she was being raised and educated (Huntley, p.2). Tan graduated from the Insitut Monte Rosa Internationale in Montreux, Switzerland in 1969. Tan attended Linfield College in Oregon before transferring to San Jose City College. She finally settled on San Jose State University where she received a baccalaureate degree in English and linguistics. Tan worked towards her doctorate at the University of California at Santa Cruz and at Berkeley, but dropped out and worked numerous jobs before settling into freelance writing (Huntley). Regardless of her education in schools in Europe and America or her career as a writer for various corporations, Amy Tan received her most influential lessons from her mother. Daisy Tan's relationships within her own family served as an outline for her daughter's first novel, published in 1989, The Joy Luck Club. Tan's friend and agent, Sandra Dijkstra, helped get her first book published and has served as her partner ever since. Daisy Tan's past relationships laid the foundation for the best-selling novel. For her follow-up novel, The Kitchen God's Wife, Tan chose to focus on her mother's life in China. Tan's personal experience along with her mother's memories served as a basis for the award winning novels (Huntley). Tan continues to write novels dealing with the relationships between mothers and daughters within the Asian American community such as The Hundred Secret Senses and The Year of No Flood. Tan also writes children's books. Tan has been married for over thirty years to her husband, Louis DeMattei. They reside in San Francisco and New York City. SOURCES *Bloom, Harold. Amy Tan. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000. *Huntley, E.D. Amy Tan, A Critical Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998. *Virgo
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
All of the reviews I found had nothing but positive comments for Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife. Many of the reviews I read, touched on the emphasis Tan gives to family, women expecially, and their roles as storytellers. Magazines such as People, Ms., Newsweek, and Cosmopolitan gave the novel an "A." In her November 19, 1993 article, Rose Marciano Lucey from the National Catholic Reporter wrote that The Kitchen God's Wife was a "heartrending reading of the position of women in China as well as a heartwarming reading of courage and determination." Many of the other reviewers shared Lucey's sentiment: The Kitchen God's Wife is a triumph, a solid indication of a mature talent for magically involving storytelling, beguiling use of language and deeply textured and nuanced character development. And while this novel is a story that a Chinese mother tells her daughter, it surpasses its predecessor as a fully integrated and developed narrative, immensely readable, perceptive, humorous, poignant, and wise (Steinburg). Lucey, Rose Marciano. "Amy Tan." National Catholic Reporter 19 Nov. 1993. Steinberg, Sybil. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Publisher's Weekly 12 April 1991. Other reviews include: Bernikow, Louise. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Cosmopolitan June 1991. Dew, Rob Forman. "The Kitchen God's Wife." The New York Times 16 June 1991. Haupt-Lehmann, Christoper. "The Kitchen God's Wife." The New York Times 20 June 1991. Fisher, Ann H. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Library Journal June 1991. Just, Julie. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Wall Street Journal 17 June 1991. Lucey, Rose Marciano. "Amy Tan." National Catholic Reporter 19 Nov. 1993. Lyer, Pico. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Time 3 June 1991. Mathews, Laura. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Glamour June 1991. Rothstein, Mervyn. "Amy Tan: a novelist still trying to adapt to success." The New York Times 11 June 1991. Steinberg, Sybil. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Publisher's Weekly 12 April 1991.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
All of the reviews I found had nothing but positive comments for Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife. Many of the reviews I read, touched on the emphasis Tan gives to family, women expecially, and their roles as storytellers. Magazines such as People, Ms., Newsweek, and Cosmopolitan gave the novel an "A." In her November 19, 1993 article, Rose Marciano Lucey from the National Catholic Reporter wrote that The Kitchen God's Wife was a "heartrending reading of the position of women in China as well as a heartwarming reading of courage and determination." Many of the other reviewers shared Lucey's sentiment: The Kitchen God's Wife is a triumph, a solid indication of a mature talent for magically involving storytelling, beguiling use of language and deeply textured and nuanced character development. And while this novel is a story that a Chinese mother tells her daughter, it surpasses its predecessor as a fully integrated and developed narrative, immensely readable, perceptive, humorous, poignant, and wise (Steinburg). Lucey, Rose Marciano. "Amy Tan." National Catholic Reporter 19 Nov. 1993. Steinberg, Sybil. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Publisher's Weekly 12 April 1991. Other reviews include: Bernikow, Louise. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Cosmopolitan June 1991. Dew, Rob Forman. "The Kitchen God's Wife." The New York Times 16 June 1991. Haupt-Lehmann, Christoper. "The Kitchen God's Wife." The New York Times 20 June 1991. Fisher, Ann H. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Library Journal June 1991. Just, Julie. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Wall Street Journal 17 June 1991. Lucey, Rose Marciano. "Amy Tan." National Catholic Reporter 19 Nov. 1993. Lyer, Pico. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Time 3 June 1991. Mathews, Laura. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Glamour June 1991. Rothstein, Mervyn. "Amy Tan: a novelist still trying to adapt to success." The New York Times 11 June 1991. Steinberg, Sybil. "The Kitchen God's Wife." Publisher's Weekly 12 April 1991.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Countless critics have tried to theorize the reason behind the popularity of Amy Tan's books. Critical companions have been created so that readers can fully understand the depths of Tan's works, yet the question remains: what is the definitive reason behind the success of Tan's THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE? By examining various texts, one can understand the reason, or reasons, for the popularity of this book. Several attributes lead to the success of THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE: the author's use of familial histories, the universality of the book's central themes, and historical background are the formulaic ingredients that create the bestseller. Amy Tan writes what she knows. Tan's main character in the book, Minnie, is based on the life of Tan's mother (Bloom, p.94). Readers and critics alike relate and appreciate the realistic and factual foundation that Tan creates in her works. E.D. Huntley, author of AMY TAN: A CRITICAL COMPANION writes that "Amy Tan allows the main characters in THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE to speak in their own voices, to recount the significant events of their lives as they remember them, and to structure their life stories according to the requirements of their personal situations and their reasons for narrating the stories." By Tan allowing the characters, namely Winnie, to use their own voices, she gives legitimacy to their stories, thus allowing the reader to truly become encapsulated in the story. The dimensionality of Tan's characters, as well as the knowledge that she uses true stories to create her novels, are some of the leading reasons behind this book's success. Tan, on the other hand, received backlash from relatives after the release of the novel, as she told an interviewer in 1995, "One relative felt that the story of my mother should not have been revealed. My mother was the woman who had been raped, forced to be a concubine......my mother, though, got equally angry with the relative and said, "For so many years, I have carried this shame on my back, and suffered, because I couldn't say anything to anybody. It's not too late; tell the world, tell the world what happened to me." And I take her mandate to be the one that is in my heart, the one that I should follow" (Bloom, 94). Regardless of what Tan's relatives, or the minority of public readers think, the true-life story sells to the critical and popular masses. Tan's ethnicity comes into play in several, if not all, of her critical analyses. Emmanuel S. Nelson, in his book oddly enough entitled ASIAN AMERICAN NOVELISTS: A BIO-BIOGRAPHICAL CRITICAL SOURCEBOOK mentions the lack of critical attention given to Tan as a writer. "Although Amy Tan is widely taught in the classrooms of literary, ethnic, and historical studies, she has yet to receive the kind of critical attention she deserves. Most people read Amy Tan's stories about the Chinese mothers straight as testimonies of the brutal patriarchal world of old China, comforted by the impression that these women lived miserable lives in China and now are safe from harm in America, if not happy. Hopefully, Amy Tan's work will receive more and richer critical attention in the near future." Tan agrees that her work is sometimes undermined by the fact that several critics label her as a role model for other Asian Americans: "Placing on writers the responsibility to represent a culture is an onerous burden. Someone who writes fiction is not necessarily writing a depiction of any generalized group, they're writing a very specific story. There's also a danger in balkanizing literature, as if it should be read as sociology, or politics, as opposed to treating it as literature-as a story, language, memory" (Bloom, 94). The controversy surrounding Tan's critical acclaim leads to inquisitive readers. The interest taken in Tan's work stems from the unanswered question of Tan's ability as a writer, not as a token Asian-American writer, but as a creative, talented artist. The interest surrounding Tan's ability as a writer has sparked readers' initiative to see for themselves. Regardless of how critics, and even Tan herself, view her work as a subcategory of Asian-American literature, the popularity still remains. THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE has been translated into numerous languages and published in places as from Barcelona to Tokyo. Tan may feel constricted as a writer by the ethnic lines, but her works are also distributed throughout many different ethnicities, allowing several different nationalities a chance to read THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE. A theme that transcends language and ethnicity must therefore be present in her work. The relationship between a mother and a daughter, and family as a whole, is found within the KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE. The bestseller reaches women of any nationality by having characters portray realistic situations. For example, in THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE, the main character, Minnie is an overbearing, argumentative mother to her distant and secretive daughter Pearl. The women have trouble communicating with each other. The critical literature on matrilineage in women's writings has already achieved the status of a rich and evolving canon (Bloom, 25). THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE is popular because the prevalent problem with mother/daughter pairs is something readers everywhere can relate to. Another important element to Tan's book is the historical relevance of her stories. Tan's novel hits home with numerous readers because of her detailed descriptions of World War II. The immigration of many people during the middle 20th century is a concept several readers and critics appreciate. As Rose Marciano Lucey wrote in the National Catholic Review, "Tan wrote a heartrending reading of the position of women in China as well as a heartwarming reading of courage and determination." Tan described many of the male characters in her novel as cruel and dangerous; yet several were strong and brave soldiers; American and Chinese alike. The universality of the characters allows women and men to appreciate the message portrayed in THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE. Regardless of the stigma surrounding Tan and her influence as an Asian-American writer, the fact remains that her work has succeeded, popularly and critically. The reasons behind the success of THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE are the appeal to diverse readers, the focus on family and the truth behind its history, and the presence of historical information. All of these ingredients help to make THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE one of the most popular books of the 20th century. Bloom, Harold. AMY TAN. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000. Huntley, E.D. AMY TAN: A CRITICAL COMPANION. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998. Lucey, Rose Marciano. "Amy Tan." National Catholic Reporter 19 Nov. 1993. Nelson, Emmanuel S. ASIAN AMERICAN NOVELISTS: A BIO-BIOGRAPHICAL CRITICAL SOURCEBOOK. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000.
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