John Edgar Wideman’s Art and Experimentation
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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One of the most shocking and frustrating things that I have ever heard in the classroom is the recent statement by a graduate student that John Edgar Wideman’s The Cattle Killing (1996) is “amateurish.” The student’s evaluation was apparently based on the overall difficulty of the densely structured...
1. Brothers and Keepers, Fatheralong, Hoop Roots, and The Island: Martinique: THE FICTIONALIZED AUTO/BIOGRAPHIES
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The voice of the narrator, John Wideman, in Brothers and Keepers (1984) is personal and private as he portrays a cast of real-life characters from his family and community in the process of telling the tragic story of the incarceration of his brother Robert and their...
2. A Glance Away, Hurry Home, and The Lynchers: MODERNIST EXPERIMENTATION AND THE EARLY NOVELS
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John Edgar Wideman’s first three novels, A Glance Away (1967), Hurry Home (1970), and The Lynchers (1973), are products of an apprenticeship period in his career. Wideman would not find the true focus of his writing, which would set the course of its development, until his...
3. Hiding Place, Damballah, and Sent for You Yesterday: NEW DIMENSIONS OF POSTMODERN EXPERIMENTATION IN THE HOMEWOOD TRILOGY
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Hiding Place (1981), Damballah (1981), and Sent for You Yesterday (1983)—the three works that follow The Lynchers (1973)—are called the Homewood Trilogy because they tell stories about the life of Wideman’s family and the people in the Homewood community...
4. Reuben and Philadelphia Fire: PROGRESSIVE EXPERIMENTATION AFTER THE HOMEWOOD TRILOGY
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Perhaps Wideman’s most esoteric novel, Reuben (1987) is a link between the Homewood Trilogy and Philadelphia Fire (1990). It reflects a different, new phase of the creative life apparent in Wideman’s writing after Doot becomes part of the community in Sent for You Yesterday....
5. The Cattle Killing, Two Cities, and Fanon: EXTENDING EXPERIMENTAL WRITING, MAKING IT CLEAR AND EXTENDING IT FURTHER
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Like the “brothers” in Reuben and like Cudjoe, John, and the other writers in Philadelphia Fire, the writers in The Cattle Killing (1996) (re)write stories formally on the page and also through the imagination. The Cattle Killing is many stories told by many writers...
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Experimentation with the treatment of blackness is the most common feature of Wideman’s writing. Central to both the later fiction and the later auto/biographies, which build on the first three novels, is Wideman’s evolving use of experimental fictional techniques and...
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Works Cited and Other Sources
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Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2010