By Tracie Church Guzzio
In All tales Are precise, Tracie Church Guzzio offers the 1st full-length research of John Edgar Wideman's complete oeuvre up to now. particularly, Guzzio examines the ways that Wideman (b. 1941) engages with 3 the most important themes-history, fantasy, and trauma-throughout his profession, exhibiting how they intertwine. Guzzio argues that, for 4 many years, the influential African American author has endeavored to create a model of the African American event that runs counter to mainstream interpretations, utilizing historical past and delusion to confront after which heal the trauma brought on by slavery and racism.Wideman's paintings deliberately blurs barriers among fiction and autobiography, fable and background, quite as that heritage pertains to African American event in his native land of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The fusion of fiction, nationwide historical past, and Wideman's own existence is attribute of his sort, which-due to its complexity and smudging of style distinctions-has provided analytic problems for literary students. regardless of profitable the PEN/Faulkner award two times, for despatched for You the day past (1984) and Philadelphia fireplace (1990), Wideman is still under-studied.Of specific worth is Guzzio's research of the numerous ways that Wideman alludes to his prior works. This intertextuality permits Wideman to interact his books in direct, intentional discussion with one another via repeated characters, photographs, folktales, and songs. In Wideman's demanding of a monolithic view of heritage and offering replacement views to it, and his permitting previous, current, and destiny time to stay fluid within the narratives, Guzzio reveals an writer enterprise in his proposal that every one tales and all views have advantage.
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Extra info for All Stories Are True: History, Myth, and Trauma in the Work of John Edgar Wideman (Margaret Walker Alexander Series in African American Studies)
Henry Louis Gates Jr. ” Even one of his short stories exhibits this jazz technique. “Everybody Knew Bubba Riﬀ ” riﬀs on the life of Bubba Riﬀ in one continuous, ﬂuid sentence that plays with words and letters like a jazz artist would with notes. ” Wideman’s repetition of characters’ names and stories throughout his canon also recalls the repeated voicing intrinsic to riﬃng in jazz. 74 As Wideman observed in his review of Murray’s study, the “break” is another intrinsic characteristic in jazz music.
128 This description of the world has been indicative of the African American experience since the Middle Passage. 129 In a world where memory is clearly political, the novelist and the historian both must consciously see their work within the relationship between the past and present. But when a great deal of the eyewitness account has been lost, subverted, destroyed, or never recorded at all, writers like Wideman have responded by making certain that silence does not prevail. ”130 In Wideman’s case, especially in his family stories, his more overtly personal narratives connect across time to the stories of his ancestors—connecting his pain to theirs.
The phrase “all stories are true” describes the polyphonic style of a work like The Cattle Killing as well as other Wideman novels and nonﬁction. The opening pages of that novel condense Wideman’s aesthetic and aptly categorize “ALL STORIES ARE TRUE”: PALIMPSESTIC STORYTELLING 21 his work as historiographic metaﬁction. We are presented with a metaﬁctional voice discussing writing the book that he will give to his father (and later share with his son, the historian). Within a few pages, Wideman balances this ﬁctive voice with other writing “voices” or perspectives.