This book focuses on John Edgar Wideman, whose contribution to African American literary scholarship, despite its tremendous growth, has been largely neglected in comparison to other writers. Keith Byerman, one of the editors of Critical Essays on John Edgar Wideman, has suggested that Wideman’s work does not “fit conventional notions of the African-American writer.” He added that the labels of “difficult” and “postmodernist” usually applied to Wideman’s writing have helped to push him to the margins of readership and scholarship alike. The Introduction further adds that the marketing of Wideman and his work over the years has also been challenging. Initially, publishers tried to sell him as a modernist and as a writer in the tradition of Faulkner. Later, even after numerous accolades and awards, he was characterized as the “angry” writer, with an image that screamed “stay away.”
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