All Stories Are True: History, Myth, and Trauma in the Work by Tracie Church Guzzio

By Tracie Church Guzzio

In All tales Are actual, Tracie Church Guzzio offers the 1st full-length learn of John Edgar Wideman's whole oeuvre so far. in particular, Guzzio examines the ways that Wideman (b. 1941) engages with 3 the most important themes-history, fable, and trauma-throughout his profession, displaying how they intertwine. Guzzio argues that, for 4 a long time, the influential African American author has endeavored to create a model of the African American adventure that runs counter to mainstream interpretations, utilizing historical past and fable to confront after which heal the trauma brought on by slavery and racism.Wideman's paintings deliberately blurs limitations among fiction and autobiography, fable and background, relatively as that historical past pertains to African American adventure in his homeland of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The fusion of fiction, nationwide heritage, and Wideman's own existence is attribute of his type, which-due to its complexity and smudging of style distinctions-has provided analytic problems for literary students. regardless of successful the PEN/Faulkner award two times, for despatched for You the previous day (1984) and Philadelphia hearth (1990), Wideman is still under-studied.Of specific price is Guzzio's research of the various ways that Wideman alludes to his earlier works. This intertextuality permits Wideman to interact his books in direct, intentional discussion with one another via repeated characters, pictures, folktales, and songs. In Wideman's difficult of a monolithic view of background and offering substitute views to it, and his permitting prior, current, and destiny time to stay fluid within the narratives, Guzzio unearths an writer company in his idea that each one tales and all views have benefit.

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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)

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84 Breaks, fissures, and gaps occur so frequently in Wideman’s work that these Monk-like pauses often bedevil some readers who approach his writing and frighten off many but the most intrepid readers (especially in a work such as Philadelphia Fire or Fanon). 85 The result is not only a text that is structured by many narrative voices, but also one that allows multiple conversations between text and reader and history. Wideman creates spaces where all stories can be told and heard. This is not only the nature of jazz and the relationship between the solo artist and the group; it is also a significant act in redressing the silences of marginal writers and voices in history.

Madelyn Jablon specifically links jazz to Bakhtin in her assessment that the theory of dialogism “has its correlative in African-American aesthetics. 36 The juxtaposition of “legitimate” discourse with the language of the folk challenges the authority and the viewpoint of dominant culture. 38 Sounding very much like Bakhtin, Wideman maintains that the African American writer has always spoken in two voices. African American literature, even the early slave narratives, is a place where “dual messages are transmitted in a single speech act.

The story tries to present a way of reading Chesnutt’s “Deep Sleeper” (a work about which Wideman has written a critical study). It mixes passages from texts and theoretical work with journal entries. It includes a linguistic analysis of Chesnutt’s orality. There are allusions to Heart of Darkness, the Bible (Pilate’s ecce homo address), Godot, and Porky Pig—all within a single line. Woven within these literary moments are personal memories of teaching, of writing, of reading fiction and theory.

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