|Abstract||My dissertation examines the representation of the Asiatic Orient in nineteenth-century U.S. literary culture and the implication of such transnational imaginings in the formation of U.S. national and imperial identity. Building upon the critique of Orientalism initiated by Edward W. Said and followed by others, such as Malini Johar Schueller, who have examined U.S. discourses of Orientalism, my project investigates the intersection of the Asiatic Orient and U.S. national imagination in the light of current theories of transnational and global cultural exchanges. In doing so, I demonstrate that the orientalist construction of the Asia-Pacific region in U.S. cultural narratives provided an ideological basis for the dual articulation of U.S. national identity, an identity imbued with postcolonial anxiety and imperial desire. The bulk of existing scholarship on Western representations of the Orient either critiques orientalist discourse as the West's attempt to legitimize its power over the East through colonization and imperial subjugation or views such discourse as benign cross-cultural understanding. Instead, I ground my study in the cultural and material changes that the Orientalist imaginary has produced within Western metropolises in order to understand how seemingly localized national identities are forged transnationally. My project interrogates and challenges popular approaches in current scholarship in nineteenth-century U.S. literary studies. It goes beyond the critique of Orientalism in showing how the discourse of Orientalism, in the specific context of the nineteenth-century United States, complicated internally stratified racial, gender, and ethnic differences at home. Moreover, it establishes the roots of transnational imaginary within the nationalist project of nineteenth-century U.S. culture and demonstrates how the so-called transnational turn in American studies may not necessarily be a post-ethnic or post-national.