Wideman, John Edgar 1941-
WIDEMAN, John Edgar 1941-
PERSONAL: Born June 14, 1941, in Washington, DC; son of Edgar and Bette (French) Wideman; married Judith Ann Goldman, 1965; children: Daniel Jerome, Jacob Edgar, Jamila Ann. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1963; New College, Oxford, England, B.Phil., 1966.
ADDRESSES: Office—Department of English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Campus, Bartlett Hall, Amherst, MA 01003. E-mail—[email protected].
CAREER: Howard University, Washington, DC, teacher of American literature, summer, 1965; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1966-74, began as instructor, became professor of English, 1974, director of Afro-American studies program, 1971-73; University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, professor of English, 1974-1986; University of Massachusetts—Amherst, Amherst, MA, professor of English, 1986—, named Distinguished Professor, 2001. Made U.S. Department of State lecture tour of Europe and the Near East, 1976; Phi Beta Kappa lecturer, 1976; visiting writer and lecturer at numerous colleges and universities; has also served as administrator/teacher in a curriculum planning, teacher-training institute sponsored by National Defense Education Act. Assistant basketball coach, University of Pennsylvania, 1968-72. National Humanities Faculty consultant in numerous states; consultant to secondary schools across the country, 1968—.
MEMBER: Association of American Rhodes Scholars (member of board of directors and of state and national selection committees), American Studies Association (council, 1980-81), Modern Language Association, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Kent fellow, and Writers' Workshop, University of Iowa, 1966; named member of Philadelphia Big Five Basketball Hall of Fame, 1974; Young Humanist fellow, 1975—; PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction, 1984, for Sent for You Yesterday; National Book Award nomination, 1984, for Brothers and Keepers; D. Litt., University of Pennsylvania, 1985; Du Sable Museum Prize for Nonfiction, 1985; John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, Longwood College, 1986; National Magazine Editors Prize for Short Fiction, 1987; Lannan Literary fellowship for fiction, 1991; PEN/Faulkner Award and American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation, 1991, both for Philadelphia Fire; MacArthur fellow, MacArthur Foundation, 1993; James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction, 1996, for The Cattle Killing; Rea Prize for short fiction, Dungannon Foundation, 1998; Reader's Digest/Lila Wallace grant, 1999; O. Henry Award for best short story of the year, 2000; New England Book Award for literary excellence, New England Booksellers Association, 2001, for Hoop Roots: Basketball, Race, and Love; Nonfiction Honor Book, Black Caucus Award, American Library Association, 2002, for Hoop Roots: Basketball, Race, and Love; grant, National Endowment Humanities; Chancellor's Medal, University of Massachusetts.
A Glance Away, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1967.
Hurry Home, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1970.
The Lynchers, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1973.
Hiding Place, Avon (New York, NY), 1981, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1998.
Sent for You Yesterday, Avon (New York, NY), 1983.
Reuben, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1987.
Philadelphia Fire, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1990.
A Glance Away, Hurry Home, and The Lynchers: Three Early Novels by John Edgar Wideman, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1994.
The Cattle Killing, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1996.
Two Cities, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1998.
Damballah (short stories), Avon (New York, NY), 1981, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1998.
The Homewood Trilogy (includes Damballah, Hiding Place, and Sent for You Yesterday), Avon (New York, NY), 1985.
Fever (short stories), Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1989.
The Stories of John Edgar Wideman, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1992, published as All Stories Are True, Vintage Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Brothers and Keepers (memoirs), Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1984.
Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race and Society, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1994.
(With Mumia Abu-Jamal) Live from Death Row, Addison Wesley (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Bonnie Tusmith) Conversations with John Edgar Wideman, University Press Of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 1998.
Hoop Roots: Basketball, Race, and Love (memoir), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2001.
(Editor) My Soul Has Grown Deep: Classics of Early African-American Literature, Running Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.
(Editor) 20: The Best of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 2001.
The Island Martinique, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2003.
Contributor of articles, short stories, book reviews, and poetry to periodicals, including American Poetry Review, Negro Digest, Black American Literature Forum, Black World, American Scholar, Gentleman's Quarterly, New York Times Book Review, North American Review, and Washington Post Book World. Also author of introduction, Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-tales from the Gulf States, edited by Zora Neale Hurston and Carla Kaplan, HarperCollins, 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: John Edgar Wideman has been hailed by Don Strachen in the Los Angeles Times Book Review as "the black Faulkner, the softcover Shakespeare." Such praise is not uncommon for this author, whose novel Sent for You Yesterday was selected as the 1984 PEN/Faulkner Award winner over works by Bernard Malamud, Cynthia Ozick, and William Kennedy. Wideman attended Oxford University in 1963 on a Rhodes scholarship, earned a degree in eighteenth-century literature, and later accepted a fellowship at the prestigious University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Yet this "artist with whom any reader who admires ambitious fiction must sooner or later reckon," as a New York Times contributor called him, began his college career not as a writer, but as a basketball star. "I always wanted to play pro basketball—ever since I saw a ball and learned you could make money at it," he told Curt Suplee in the Washington Post. Recruited by the University of Pennsylvania, Wideman first studied psychology, attracted by the "mystical insight" that he told Suplee he thought the subject would yield. When his subjects of study instead "turned out to be rats" and clinical experiments, Wideman changed his major to English, while continuing to be mainly concerned with basketball. He played well enough to earn a place in the Philadelphia Big Five Basketball Hall of Fame but, he told Suplee, as his time at the university drew to a close, "I knew I wasn't going to be able to get into the NBA (National Basketball Association). What was left?"
The Rhodes scholarship answered that question. Wideman began to concentrate on his writing rather than sports and did so with such success that his first novel, A Glance Away, was published just a year after he earned his degree from Oxford. The story of a day in the life of a drug addict, A Glance Away reflects the harsh realities that Wideman saw and experienced during his youth in Homewood, Pittsburgh's ghetto. And, though the author later resided in other locales, including Wyoming, his novels continued to describe black urban experiences. He explained to Suplee, "My particular imagination has always worked well in a kind of exile. It fits the insider-outside view I've always had. It helps to write away from the center of the action."
Wideman's highly literate style is in sharp contrast to his gritty subject matter, and while reviews of his books have been generally favorable, some critics initially expressed the opinion that such a formal style was not appropriate for his stories of street life. Anatole Broyard praised The Lynchers in his New York Times review, stating: "Though we have heard the themes and variations of violence before in black writing, The Lynchers touches us in a more personal way, for John Edgar Wideman has a weapon more powerful than any knife or gun. His weapon is art. Eloquence is his arsenal, his arms cache. His prose, at its best, is a black panther, coiled to spring." But Broyard went on to say that the book is not flawless: "Far from it. Mr. Wideman ripples too many muscles in his writing, often cannot seem to decide whether to show or snow us. . . . [He] is wordy, and The Lynchers is as shaky in its structure as some of the buildings his characters inhabit. But he can write, and you come away from his book with the feeling that he is, as they say, very close to getting it all together." In the New York Times, John Leonard commented on the extensive use of literary devices in The Lynchers: "Flashback, flashforward, first person, third person, journals, identity exchange, interior monologue, dreams (historical and personal), puns, epiphanies. At times the devices seem a thicket through which one must hack one's weary way toward meanings arbitrarily obscure, a vegetable indulgence. But John Edgar Wideman is up to much more than storytelling. . . . He is capable of moving from ghetto language to [Irish writer James] Joyce with a flip of the page."
Saturday Review critic David Littlejohn agreed that Wideman's novels are very complex, and in his review of Hurry Home he criticized those who would judge this author as a storyteller: "Reviewers . . . are probably more responsible than anyone else for the common delusion that a novel is somehow contained in its discernible, realistic plot. . . . Hurry Home is primarily an experience, not a plot: an experience of words, dense, private, exploratory, and non-progressive." Littlejohn described Hurry Home as a retelling of an American myth, that of "the lonely search through the Old World" for a sense of cultural heritage, which "has been the pattern of a hundred thousand young Americans' lives and novels." According to Littlejohn, Wideman's version is "spare and eccentric, highly stylized, circling, allusive, antichronological, far more consciously symbolic than most versions, than the usual self-indulgent and romantic works of this genre—and hence both more rewarding and more difficult of access." Reviewing the same book in the New York Times Book Review, Joseph Goodman stated: "Many of its pages are packed with psychological insight, and nearly all reveal Mr. Wideman's formidable command of the techniques of fiction. Moreover, the theme is a profound one—the quest for a substantive sense of self. . . . The prose, paratactic and rich with puns, flows as freely as thought itself, giving us . . . Joycean echoes. . . . It is a dazzling display. . . . We can have nothing but admiration for Mr. Wideman's talent."
Enthusiastic reviews such as these established Wideman's reputation as a major talent in the literary world. When his fourth and fifth books—Damballah, a collection of short stories, and Hiding Place, a novel—were issued originally as paperbacks, some critics, such as John Leonard and Mel Watkins, reacted with indignation. Leonard's New York Times review used extensive quotes from the books to demonstrate Wideman's virtuosity, and stated, "That [these] two new books will fall apart after a second reading is a scandal." Watkins's New York Times Book Review article on the two books, which were published simultaneously, had special praise for the short-story volume, and ended with a sentiment much like Leonard's on the books' binding. "In freeing his voice from the confines of the novel form," Watkins wrote, "[Wideman] has written what is possibly his most impressive work. . . . Each story moves far beyond the primary event on which it is focused. . . . Mr. Wideman has used a narrative laced with myth, superstition and dream sequences to create an elaborate poetic portrait of the lives of ordinary black people. . . . These books once again demonstrate that John Wideman is one of America's premier writers of fiction. That they were published originally in paperback perhaps suggests that he is also one of our most underrated writers." Actually, it was the author himself who had decided to bring the books out as original paperbacks. His reasons were philosophical and pragmatic. "I spend an enormous amount of time and energy writing and I want to write good books, but I also want people to read them," he explained to Edwin McDowell in the New York Times. Wideman's first three novels had been slow sellers "in spite of enormously positive reviews," he told Suplee, and it was his hope that the affordability of paperbacks would help give him a wider readership, particularly among "the people and the world I was writing about. A $15.95 novel had nothing to do with that world."
Damballah and Hiding Place were both set in Homewood, and in 1983 he published a third book with the same setting, titled Sent for You Yesterday. Critics were enthusiastic. "In this hypnotic and deeply lyrical novel, Mr. Wideman again returns to the ghetto where he was raised and transforms it into a magical location infused with poetry and pathos," wrote Alan Cheuse in the New York Times Book Review. "The narration here makes it clear that both as a molder of language and a builder of plots, Mr. Wideman has come into his full powers. He has the gift of making 'ordinary' folks memorable." Stated Garett Epps in the Washington Post Book World, "Wideman has a fluent command of the American language, written and spoken, and a fierce, loving vision of the people he writes about. Like the writing of William Faulkner, Wideman's prose fiction is vivid and demanding—shuttling unpredictably between places, narrators and times, dwelling for a paragraph on the surface of things, then sneaking a key event into a clause that springs on the reader like a booby trap. . . . Sent for You Yesterday is a book to be savored, read slowly again and again."
When he ventured into nonfiction for the first time with his book Brothers and Keepers, Wideman continued to draw inspiration from the same source, Homewood. In this book, Wideman comes to terms with his brother Robby, younger by ten years, whose life was influenced by the street, its drugs, and its crime. The author wrote, "Even as I manufactured fiction from the events of my brother's life, from the history of the family that had nurtured us both, I knew something of a different order remained to be extricated. The fiction writer was a man with a real brother behind real bars [serving a life sentence in a Pennsylvania penitentiary]." In his review in the Washington Post Book World, Jonathan Yardley called Brothers and Keepers "the elder Wideman's effort to understand what happened, to confess and examine his own sense of guilt about his brother's fate (and his own)." The result, according to the reviewer, is "a depiction of the inexorably widening chasm that divides middle-class black Americans from the black underclass." Wideman's personal experience, added Yardley, also reveals that for the black person, "moving out of the ghetto into the white world is a process that requires excruciating compromises, sacrifices and denials, that leaves the person who makes the journey truly at home in neither the world he has entered nor the world he has left."
Wideman has, however, made a home for himself in literary circles, and at the same time has learned much about the nature of success. When Sent for You Yesterday won the PEN/Faulkner Award—the only major literary award in the United States to be judged, administered, and largely funded by writers—Wideman told Suplee he felt "warmth. That's what I felt. Starting at the toes and filling up. A gradual recognition that it could be real." The author maintained that if such an honor "doesn't happen again for a long time—or never happens again—it really doesn't matter," because he "learned more and more that the process itself was important, learned to take my satisfaction from the writing" during the years of comparative obscurity. "I'm an old jock," he explained. "So I've kind of trained myself to be low-key. Sometimes the crowd screams, sometimes the crowd doesn't scream."
The narrator of Wideman's novel Reuben provides inexpensive legal aid to residents of Homewood. One of Reuben's clients is Kwansa, a young black prostitute whose husband, a recovering drug addict, kidnaps and seeks legal custody of their illegitimate child as revenge against her. Another customer is Wally, an assistant basketball coach at a local white university who seeks Reuben's counsel for two reasons, one being the killing of a white man in Chicago and the other being his fear that he will be blamed for the illegal recruiting practices of his department. Reviewing the book in the Washington Post Book World, Noel Perrin characterized Wideman's novels as myths. "In the end," Perrin wrote, "one sees that all the shocks—the murders, the fantasies, burnings, strong words—all of them amount to a kind of metaphor for the psychic damage that human beings do to each other and that is no less hurtful than spread-eagled beating, just less visible to the outer eye."
In Philadelphia Fire, Wideman brings together two stories, combining fact in fiction. In the first, he describes the events in Philadelphia when the police, under the direction of black mayor Wilson Goode, bombed the headquarters of an organization known as Move, a group that had defied city eviction notices and was armed with weapons. The police bombing killed six adults and five children, destroyed fifty-three homes, and left 262 people homeless. Wideman's novel begins with a quote by William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, stating his dream that the town would "never be burnt, and always be wholesome." As Chicago Tribune Books reviewer Paul Skenazy pointed out, Philadelphia Fire tries to make sense of the changes that have occurred since Penn's statement, changes that include poverty and racism, changes that resulted in the burning of the Philadelphia neighborhood. The other story being told in the book is that of Wideman's relationship with a son who has received a life sentence for murder. "Few pages of prose," Skenazy said, "carry as much pain as do Wideman's thoughts on his son, his words to him in prison, his feelings of confusion as a father." Skenazy concluded that Philadelphia Fire is "about a person, and a nation, losing its grip, destroying the very differences and dissonance that provide spirit, beauty, life." Rosemary L. Bray in the New York Times Book Reviewconcurred; "the author takes his readers on a tour of urban America perched on the precipice of hell," Bray wrote, "a tour in which even his own personal tragedy is part of the view."
The Stories of John Edgar Wideman combined several earlier story collections, including Damballah, Fever, and All Stories Are True. Michael Harris wrote in the Los Angeles Times Book Review that a comparison between Wideman and Faulkner makes sense, "because of the scope of Wideman's project, his ear for voices, . . . and the way he shows the present as perpetually haunted by the past." New York Times Book Review contributor Michael Gorra also believed the Faulkner comparison is apt. "It is appropriate," Gorra wrote, "because both are concerned with the life of a community over time. It is appropriate because they both have a feel for the anecdotal folklore through which a community defines itself, because they both often choose to present their characters in the act of telling stories, and because in drawing on oral tradition they both write as their characters speak, in a language whose pith and vigor has not yet been worn into cliché." It is Gorra's conclusion that "the more you read John Edgar Wideman, the more impressive he seems."
Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race and Society, like Philadelphia Fire and the Homewood stories, juxtaposes Wideman's personal life with larger issues. Mel Watkins in the New York Times Book Review referred to it as a hybrid of memoir and "a meditation on fatherhood, race, metaphysics, time and the afterlife." Wideman explores his strained relationship with his father and his troubles with his own son, and then frames them in the context of all father-son relationships as well as America's racist legacy. A Village Voice critic found the sections on Wideman's son, Jacob, to be his "most artful work. The Jacob sections overshadow simply because they're so much better written, their subject more emotionally grasped than any other." Mitchell Duneier in the Los Angeles Times Book Review called Fatheralong "a masterpiece of sociological speculation, constructed with such an abundance of wisdom as to compensate for its lack of evidence regarding questions to which there are no easy answers." In the Chicago Tribune Books, Michael Boynton, calling the work "part memoir, part manifesto," concluded that "Fatheralong is an odd, sad book. Filled with flashes of insight told in Wideman's distinctive prose-poetry, it is at once personal and essentially opaque. . . . It leaves the reader wanting to know more, hoping that its author will one day find the key he has been looking for."
Wideman returned to fiction with his novel, The Cattle Killing. In it, he weaves together memories from his narrator's childhood in Philadelphia with the plight of blacks in the city in the late eighteenth century, and the story of the South African Xhosa tribe, pulling together threads of history, religion, and race to form his story. The complex story met with somewhat mixed reviews, with critics finding flaws in the novel's coherence but praising Wideman's imaginative storytelling powers.
Sven Birkerts of the New York Times Book Review offered the negative point of view, claiming that the author "ventured beyond his readers" with The Cattle Killing, adding, "Filaments of story, of precious sense, are woven like bits of rag into a rug of shimmering but also perplexing suggestiveness." A more positive assessment came from Joyce Carol Oates in the New York Review of Books, who described the book as "purposefully framed by contemporary American black voices." She added, "The Cattle Killing juxtaposes lyrical, parable-like tales with presumably authentic historical accounts. . . . Boldly, the author indicates little distinction between voices, times, or settings." While "the result is a novel frequently difficult to assess," Oates recommended that readers approach the book "as a kind of music, an obsessive beat in the author's head, a nightmare from which he yearns . . . to be awakened. It is a work of operatic polyphony that strains to break free of linguistic constraints into theatrical spectacle."
An improvisational tone characterized the style of Two Cities. In this novel—set in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh of the title—the author tells the story of Kassima, who has had her share of hard luck with men. As the story opens, she is tentatively stepping back into a social life after the grief of losing two sons to gang-related crime and an imprisoned husband to AIDS. She may have found happiness after meeting Robert Jones, a middle-aged man whose own difficult past has given him a rare wisdom. But after Robert nearly loses his life in a close call with a gun-wielding young man, "Kassima is so terrorized by the prospect of another loss that she abandons her nascent attachment and returns to protective mourning," according to Richard Bernstein, writing in the New York Times. Kassima finds a kindred spirit in Mr. Mallory, an elderly World War II veteran who boards at her home. When he dies, she turns to Robert for emotional help.
"This is the essential story," said Bernstein, "but Mr. Wideman weaves a tapestry of American life tightly around it, telling stories reminiscent of the Homewood trilogy." In his review, Bernstein found Two Cities to be as "angry and intemperate" as it was infused with "stylistic virtuosity."
My Soul Has Grown Deep: Classics of Early African American Literature, edited by Wideman, is a collection of twelve writings by well-known and lesser-known eighteenth-and nineteenth-century writers such as Phyllis Wheatley, Sojourner Truth, W. E. B. Dubois, and Booker T. Washington. Library Journal reviewer Karen S. E. Lempert praised Wideman for "providing a depth and breadth of content and editorial expertise rarely found" in this type of collection. Because of Wideman, wrote Donna Seamen in Booklist, "these eloquent and inspiring messages of hope will continue to be heard across the land and around the world."
Hoop Roots: Basketball, Race, and Love, said Wideman in an interview with Lisa Baker in the African American Review, is "really a study of race and culture—using sport as a way of getting people's attention." Hoop Roots follows Wideman's "lifelong love affair with basketball," commented David L. Ulin in the Atlantic Monthly, at times, "yielding to reflections on family, racial tension, memory, and the nebulous territory of storytelling itself." A Publishers Weekly called the book a "brilliant tribute to basketball, survival and families linked by blood, joy, and tragedy." This reviewer concluded that Hoop Roots "is as exhilarating as a few fast and furious hours on the court." Tracy Grant, a reviewer for Black Issues Book Review, found the book a challenge to read because of Wideman's "stream-of-consciousness writing style," but commented that "Hoop Roots demonstrates Wideman's unique voice and his true gift for capturing a slice of black life from the past."
"John Edgar Wideman is unafraid to experiment with many voices," declared Opal Palmer Adisa in the Reference Guide to American Literature. "He has pushed his fiction to embrace both European and African American aesthetic traditions. Some aspect of his life is at the center of all of his works. He probes, relentless in his attempt to understand the social machine that seems so controlling and leaves so many people feeling powerless." As Adisa concluded, while the author's experimental techniques "might not always provide clarity, his works nonetheless cause one to look beyond the surface."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
African American Almanac, 8th edition, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Black Literature Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 5, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1994.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 5, 1976, Volume 34, 1985, Volume 36, 1986, Volume 67, 1992, Volume 122, 2000.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 33: Afro-American Fiction Writers after 1955, 1984, Volume 143: American Novelists since World War II, Third Series, 1994.
In Black and White: A Guide to Magazine Articles, Newspaper Articles, and Books concerning Black Individuals and Groups, 3rd edition, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1985.
Major Twentieth-Century Writers, 2nd edition, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Mbalia, Doreatha D., John Edgar Wideman: Reclaiming the African Personality, Associated University Presses (Cranbury, NJ), 1995.
Modern American Literature, Volume 3, 5th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Modern Black Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Notable Black American Men, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.
O'Brien, John, editor, Interviews with Black Writers, Liveright, 1973.
Reference Guide to American Literature, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Reference Guide to Short Fiction, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Wideman, John Edgar, Brothers and Keepers, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1984.
Wideman, John Edgar, Philadelphia Fire, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1990.
African American Review, fall, 1992, Jessica Lustig, "Home: An Interview with John Edgar Wideman," pp. 453-457; summer, 1998, review of The Cattle Killing, p. 362; winter, 1998, Madhu Dubey, review of Philadelphia Fire, pp. 579-595; summer, 2000, Lisa Baker, "Storytelling and Democracy (in the Radical Sense): A Conversation with John Edgar Wideman," p. 263.
American Book Review, March-April, 1988, Harold Jaffe, "Rage," pp. 8-14; November, 1999, review of Two Cities, p. 4.
American Literature, March, 1999, "Conversation with John Edgar Wideman," p. 214.
American Scholar, autumn, 1967.
Atlantic Monthly, November, 2001, David L. Ulin, review of Hoop Roots: Basketball, Race, and Love.
Black American Literature Forum, spring-summer, 1986, John Bennion, "The Shape of Memory in John Edgar Wideman's Sent for You Yesterday," pp. 143-150.
Black Issues Book Review, November-December 2001, Tracy Grant, review of Hoop Roots, p. 69.
Black Scholar, spring, 1998, Mumia Abu-Jamal, review of Brothers and Keepers, pp. 75-79.
Bloomsbury Review, January, 1999, review of Two Cities, p. 19.
Book, September, 2001, "John Edgar Wideman" (interview), p. 12.
Booklist, August, 1994, p. 1987; September 15, 1994, Joseph Keppler, review of All Stories Are True, p. 153; February 15, 1998, review of The Cattle Killing, p. 979; July, 1998, review of Two Cities, p. 1832; September 1, 2001, Wes Lukowsky, review of Hoop Roots, p. 38; September 15, 2001, Donna Seaman, review of My Soul Has Grown Deep: Classics of Early African American Literature, p. 180.
Callaloo, fall, 1985, Jacqueline Berben, "Beyond Discourse: The Unspoken versus Words in the Fiction of John Edgar Wideman," pp. 525-534; winter, 1990, author interview, pp. 47-61; summer, 1999, special issue devoted to Wideman, pp. 629-665.
Chicago Tribune Books, November 29, 1987, Gary Dretzka, "Haunting Novel of Rage and Love Packs a Punch," p. 6.
Christian Science Monitor, October 23, 1990, Shawn Smith, "Like Steam from a City Grate," p. 15; July 10, 1992.
CLA Journal, March, 1985, James Coleman, "Going Back Home: The Literary Development of John Edgar Wideman," pp. 326-343; March, 1990, Matthew Wilson, "The Circles of History in John Edgar Wideman's 'The Homewood Trilogy,'" pp. 239-259.
Contemporary Literature, fall, 1991, Ashraf H. A. Rushdy, "Fraternal Blues: John Edgar Wideman's Homewood Trilogy," pp. 312-345.
Ebony, September, 2001, review of Hoop Roots, p. 22.
Esquire, September, 1998, review of Two Cities, p. 60.
Essence, October, 2001, Patrick Henry Bass, "Take Note," p. 70.
Hollins Critic, December, 1992, James Robert Saunders, "Exorcizing the Demons: John Edgar Wideman's Literary Response," pp. 1-10.
Interview, September, 2001, Patrick Giles, "Looking at Life from the Free Throw Line," p. 102.
Journal of Negro History, January, 1963.
Kenyon Review, spring, 1992, Jan Clausen, "Native Fathers," pp. 44-55.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1996, p. 1092; July 15, 1998, review of Two Cities, p. 998.
Library Journal, March 1, 1994, Peter Joseph, review of All Stories Are True, p. 134; September 15, 1994, Michael A. Lutes, review of Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race and Society, p. 85; July, 1996, Barbara Hoffert, review of The Cattle Killing, p. 164; November 1, 1998, review of Two Cities, p. 101; March 1, 1999, Michael Rogers, review of Hiding Place and Damballah, p. 116; October 15, 2001, Nathan Ward, review of Hoop Roots, p. 84; September 15, 2001, Karen E. S. Lempert, review of My Soul Has Grown Deep, p. 80; March 1, 2002, "ALA Awards at Midwinter," p. 18.
London Review of Books, November 27, 1997, Michael Wood, "Living in the Enemy's Dream," pp. 25-26.
Los Angeles Times, November 11, 1987.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 17, 1983; December 23, 1984, Ron Finney, "To Repair the Two Relations," p. 6; December 29, 1985; September 30, 1990; September 13, 1992; December 25, 1994, p. 2; September 27, 1998, review of Two Cities, p. 11.
Michigan Quarterly Review, winter, 1975.
Nation, January 1, 1990, Randall Kenan, review of Fever, pp. 25-27; October 28, 1996, Gene Seymour, "Dream Surgeon," pp. 58-60.
Negro Digest, May, 1963.
New Republic, July 13 and 20, 1992, Sven Birkerts, "The Art of Memory," pp. 42-44.
New Statesman, September 1, 1995, Ian Sansom, review of Fatheralong, p. 34.
Newsweek, May 7, 1970; October 1, 1990, Jack Kroll, review of Philadelphia Fire, p. 90.
New Yorker, October 1, 1998, review of Two Cities, p. 109.
New York Magazine, October 1, 1990, Rhoda Koenig, review of Philadelphia Fire, p. 66.
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