Study Guide

John Edgar Wideman

John Edgar Wideman Essay - John Edgar Wideman Long Fiction Analysis

John Edgar Wideman Long Fiction Analysis

The recurring thematic emphasis in John Edgar Wideman’s novels is on the way history, both collective and personal, and the stories that arise from that history shape notions of reality. From gay college professors to ghetto junkies, Wideman’s characters are often uncomfortable with their places in history and unsure that they even understand those few traditions that they do observe. Therefore, they shuttle between the imaginary and the real in order to rediscover the past, revive it, or at least preserve whatever parts they do recall. Despite Wideman’s literary beginnings in the racially turbulent 1960’s, when blacks in America articulated their estrangement from Africa, his white as well as black characters crave the...

(The entire section is 3877 words.)