Life and Work
John Edgar Wideman was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Pittsburgh. The Homewood neighborhood in Pittsburgh where he spent his youth serves as the setting for a number of his books. Wideman describes what he values about this community: “I think it’s the people who make the neighborhood. That’s the difference between learning about Homewood through my writing and learning about Homewood from sociologists. There have been interesting books written about Homewood, but the people make the place” (“Home” 454). In 1965, he married Judith Ann Goldman, with whom he has three children.
Wideman graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania before becoming the second African American ever to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, allowing him to work toward his doctorate at Oxford University. He has taught at the University of Iowa’s Creative Writing Workshop, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Wyoming at Laramie, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and as a visiting writer at many colleges. Since 2004, Wideman has been Assa Messer Professor and Professor and Africana Studies and English at Brown University. During the six years that he taught at the University of Pennsylvania, he became their first Black tenured professor, created their first African American studies program, (which he chaired from 1971-1973), and had his first book, A Glance Away, published. In addition, he worked as the Assistant Basketball Coach at the University of Pennsylvania from 1968-1972.
Wideman writes fiction as well as scholarship about African American literature. About his own intentions as a writer, he says, “I’m very actively deconstructing the given formulas and definitions of African American culture and life, and trying to put in their place those that seem more reasonable, more real, more lively, more potentially positive. In my mind, I can’t think of anything more important” (“Storytelling” 265).
Many of Wideman’s works are connected to Pennsylvania. The Lynchers portrays a group of African American men in Philadelphia who plan to hang a white police officer. Philadelphia Fire tells the story of police violence towards the MOVE organization, and The Cattle Killing depicts the victimization of Black Philadelphians during a fever outbreak in the late 1700s. The three novels that make up The Homewood Trilogy (Damballah, Hiding Place, and Sent for You Yesterday) chronicle the experiences of a family living in the Pittsburgh community where Wideman grew up. However, Wideman points out that while these books are based on his childhood community, they are fictional: “The distinction I want to make is that, once I started to write, I was creating a place based partly on memories of the actual place I lived in, and partly on the exigencies or needs of the fiction I was creating” (“Home” 453).
In addition to writing fiction, Wideman has produced several autobiographical works. In his memoir Brothers and Keepers, Wideman discusses how he dealt with his brother Robby’s life in prison sentence as a result of his participation in a burglary that also led to a murder. Wideman would experience this kind of loss again: eleven years after Robby went to jail, Wideman’s son Jacob was also given a life sentence for murder. Wideman’s nonfiction work Fatheralong deals with this issue.
Although Wideman’s novels have varying plots and characters, several themes connect his works. Robin Lucy describes how community and the struggle for cultural survival flow through Wideman’s writings when she describes how “the storyteller/writer probes the potential dissolution of African American community under the impact of external and internal violence. At the same time, myriad American voices and narratives surface in his work, articulating the possibilities of, and the tragic failure to create, a multiracial, multicultural American nation” (484).
In particular, relationships between fathers and sons and between brothers often appear in Wideman’s works. Jacqueline Berben-Masi discusses how Wideman uses the father-son relationship to make “an impassioned plea for us all to reconsider our notion of the prodigal and to purge our society of the race issue that distorts our vision of certain Americans and short-circuits their access to the American Dream” (683). In addition, Yves-Charles Grandjeat examines how Wideman uses fraternal relationships to show how division and separation can be a way to learn empathy (620-21). Wideman emphasizes the need for a strong community as a way to counter violence and racism.
Some critics have chosen to focus on Wideman’s experimental modernist style, comparing him to William Faulkner (Lucy 489). Janet Dwyer praises Wideman’s writing style in her review of Two Cities as “beautifully structured, cunningly interlaced, and sensuously immediate” (102). In another review of Two Cities, Sybil Steinberg comments, “A dark and brooding fugue on the nature of violence, Wideman’s latest novel … again dispenses with conventional narrative development to compose a many-character testament to the suffering of people affected by the brutal force of power” (72).
Other critics focus less on Wideman’s style and more on the strengths of his plot, setting, and characters. In a review of Hoop Roots, Tracy Grant says that while Wideman’s “stream-of-consciousness writing style, replete with fragmented sentences, makes for difficult reading,” the reader will find that “the works of John Edgar Wideman, author, professor and devout follower of the religion called basketball, are usually informed by his connection to his hometown, the emotional highs and lows of family life, and his keen social observations regarding working class African Americans” (69).
Publications and Awards
By the Author
- A Glance Away. New York: Harcourt, 1967. New York: Holt, 1985.
- Hurry Home. New York: Harcourt, 1970. New York: Holt, 1986.
- The Lynchers. New York: Harcourt, 1973. New York: Holt, 1986.
- Damballah. New York: Avon, 1981. New York: Vintage, 1988. Boston: Houghton, 1998.
- Hiding Place. New York, Avon, 1981. New York: Vintage, 1988. Boston: Houghton, 1998.
- The Homewood Books. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1981, 1992.
- Sent for You Yesterday. New York: Avon, 1983. New York: Vintage, 1988. Boston: Houghton, 1997.
- The Homewood Trilogy. [Damballah, Hiding Place, Sent for You Yesterday.] New York: Avon, 1985.
- Reuben. New York: Holt, 1987. New York: Viking, 1988.
- Philadelphia Fire. New York: Holt, 1990.
- Identities: Three Novels by John Edgar Wideman. [A Glance Away, Hurry Home, The Lynchers.] New York: Holt, 1994.
- The Cattle Killing. Boston: Houghton, 1996.
- Two Cities. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. Boston: Houghton, 1999.
Short Story Collections
- Fever: Twelve Stories. New York: Holt, 1989. New York: Penguin, 1990, 1991.
- All Stories Are True. New York: Pantheon, 1992.
- The Stories of John Edgar Wideman. [All Stories Are True, Fever, Damballah.] New York: Pantheon, 1992.
- God’s Gym. Boston: Houghton, 2005
- Brothers and Keepers. New York: Holt, 1984. New York: Vintage, 1985, 1995. Boston: Houghton, 2005.
- Fatheralong. New York: Pantheon, 1994. New York: Vintage, 1995.
- Hoop Roots: Basketball, Race and Love. Boston: Houghton, 2001, 2003.
- American Poetry Review
- American Scholar
- Black American Literature Forum
- Black World
- Gentlemen’s Quarterly
- Negro Digest
- New York Times Book Review
- Washington Post Book World
- American Fiction: States of the Art. Ed. Bradford Morrow and Walter Abish. Annondale-on-Hudson, NY: Bard College, 2000.
- The Art of the Story: An International Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories. Ed. Daniel Halpern. New York: Viking, 1999, 2000.
- The Beacon Best of 1999: Creative Writing by Women and Men of All Colors. Ed. Ntozake Shange, Boston: Beacon, 2000.
- Best American Short Stories, 2004. Ed. Lorrie Moore and Katrina Kenison. Boston: Houghton, 2004.
- Black in America. New York: New Yorker Magazine, 1996.
- Breaking Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Fiction. Ed. Terry MacMillan. New York: Penguin, 1990.
- Children of the Night: The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, 1962 to the Present. Ed. Gloria Naylor. Boston: Little, 1995.
- Go the Way Your Blood Beats: An Anthology of Lesbian and Gay Fiction by African-American Writers. Ed. Shawn Stewart Ruff. New York: Holt, 1996.
- Memory of Kin: Stories about Family by Black Writers. Ed. Mary Helen Washington. New York: Doubleday, 1991.
- Modern American Memoirs. Ed. Annie Dillard and Cort Conley. New York: Harper, 1995.
- Oxford Book of American Short Stories. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: Oxford UP, 1992.
- Prize Stories 2000: The O. Henry Awards. Ed. Larry Dark. New York: Random House, 2000.
- Short Stories for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studies Short Stories. Ed. Richard Yates, Andrea Barrett, et al. Vol. 24. Detroit: Gale, 2007.
- Show Me a Hero: Great Contemporary Stories about Sports. Ed. Jeanne Schinto. New York: Persea, 1995.
- The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. 6th Ed. Ed. Ann Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.
- with Katrina Kenison. Best American Short Stories, 1996. Boston: Houghton, 1997.
- My Soul Has Grown Deep: Classics of Early African American Literature. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2001. New York: Ballantine, 2001, 2002.
- 20: The Best of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2001
- Contribution. Growing Up Black: From the Slave Days to the Present – 25 African Americans Reveal the Trials and Triumphs of their Childhoods. 1968. New York: Avon, 1992.
- “Fear in the Streets.” The American Scholar 40.4 (Fall 1971): 611-22.
- “Frame and Dialect: The Evolution of the Black Voice in American Literature.” American Poetry Review 5.5 (Sept.-Oct. 1976): 34-37.
- “Defining the Black Voice in Fiction.” Black American Literature Forum 11.3 (Fall 1977): 79-82.
- “Mr. Thomas.” Callaloo 1 (1978): 19-29.
- “Stomping the Blues: Ritual in Black Music and Speech.” American Poetry Review 7.4 (July-Aug. 1978): 42-45.
- “Freeda.” Callaloo 2 (1979): 43-52.
- “Bobby.” TriQuarterly 46 (Fall 1979): 13-30.
- “When It’s Time to Go Home.” Callaloo 4 (1981): 73-78.
- “Black Fiction and Black Speech.” Writers Speak: America and the Ethnic Experience. Amherst: Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities, 1984.
- “The Language of Home.” New York Times Book Review 13 Jan.1985.
- “Surfiction.” Southern Review 21 (Summer 1985): 633-40.
- “What is Afro, What is American?” New York Times Book Review 3 August 1986.
- “Talking in Tongues: The Writer and the State.” The Constitution, The Law, and Freedom of Expression, 1787-1987. Ed. James Brewer Stewart and Warren E. Burger. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1987.
- “The Divisible Man.” Life 11.5 (1988): 116.
- “The Black Writer and the Magic of the Word.” New York Times Book Review 24 Jan. 1988.
- “Michael Jordan Leaps the Great Divide.” Esquire Nov. 1990. Rpt. in Signifyin(g), Sancifyin’ & Slam Dunking: A Reader in African American Expressive Culture. Gena Dagel Caponi. Amherst: U Mass P, 1999.
- “The Color of Fiction.” Mother Jones 15 (Nov.-Dec. 1990): 59-60.
- “Portents, he said, would make me sure of this.” Callaloo 13.1 (Winter 1990): 37- 41.
- “The Architectonics of Fiction.” Callaloo 13.1 (Winter 1990): 42-46.
- “Dead Black Men and Other Fallouts form the Great American Dream.” Esquire Sept. 1992.
- “The Night I Was Nobody.” Swing Low: Black Men Writing. Ed. Rebecca Carroll.
- New York: Carol Southern, 1995. 224-35.
- Introduction. Abu-Jamal, Mumia. Live from Death Row. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995. New York, Perennial, 2002.
- “Russell Means: The Profound and Outspoken Activist Shares Some of His Most Ardent Convictions.” Modern Maturity 38.5 (Sep.-Oct. 1995): 68-79.
- “Playing Dennis Rodman.” The New Yorker 29 Apr.-6 May 1996.
- “Ascent by Balloon from the Yard of Walnut Street Jail.” Callaloo 19.1 (Winter 1996): 1-5.
- “Doing Time, Marking Race.” The Nation 30 October 1995. Rpt. In Defense of Mumia. Ed. S. E. Anderson and Tony Medina. New York: Writers and Readers, 1996. 126-30.
- “At the Penitentiary.” Surviving Crisis: Twenty Prominent Authors Write about Events that Shaped their Lives. Ed. Lee Gulfkind. New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1997.
- “Justice: A Perspective.” Outside the Law: Narratives on Justice in America. Ed. Susan Richards Shreve and Porter Shreve. Boston: Beacon P, 1997.
- “The Killing of Black Boys.” Essence Nov. 1997.
- Various essays. Behind the Razor Wire: Portrait of a Contemporary American Prison System. Ed. Michael Jacobson-Hardy. New York: New York U P, 1999.
- Foreword. Motion: American Sports Poems. Ed. Noah Blaustein. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2001.
- “Invisible Author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” Autobiography. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2001.
- Foreword. Hurston, Zora Neale, and Carla Kaplan, eds. Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-Tales from the Gulf States. New York: Perennial, 2001, 2002.
- “Whose War.” The Best American Essays 2003. Ed. Anne Fadiman and Robert Atwan. Boston: Houghton, 2003.
- “Sitting.” Dream Me Home Safely: Growing Up in America. Ed. Susan Richards Shreve. Boston: Houghton, 2003.
- “In Praise of Silence.” The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work: A Collection from the Washington Post Book World. Ed. Marian Arana. New York: Public Affiars, 2003.
- Interview. In Black and White: Conversations with African American Writers. Videocassette. California Newsreel, 1992.
- John Edgar Wideman. Videocassette. Lannan Foundation, 1993.
- John Edgar Wideman. With Ishmael Reed. Audiocassette. Pacific Vistas Productions, 1994.
- John Edgar Wideman: Interview with Kay Bonetti. Audiocassette. American Audio Prose Library, 1985.
- John Edgar Wideman: Interview with Rebeka Presson. Audiocassette. New Letters on the Air. University of Missouri, 1990.
- John Edgar Wideman: Writer. Videocasette.Cinema Guild, 1998.
- John Wideman: A Conversation with John Wideman. Videocassette. California Newsreel, 1992.
- Native Son. With Bebe Moore Campbell (on Richard Wright). Videocassette. The Learning Channel/Films for the Humanities, 1997. DVD, 2002.
- Philadelphia Fire, A Novel. With Tobias Wolf and Quincy Troupe, Videocassette. WNYC-TV Compass Films, 1991.
- The Revival of Black Literature. Black Issues in Higher Education. Videocassette. Lee Productions, 1996.
- Kent fellow and Writers’ Workshop at University of Iowa, 1966
- Member of Philadelphia Big Five Basketball Hall of Fame, 1974
- Young Humanist fellow, 1975
- PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction for Sent for You Yesterday, 1984
- D. Litt. University of Pennsylvania, 1985
- Du Sable Museum Prize for Non-fiction, 1985
- John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, Longwood College, 1986
- National Magazine Editors Prize for Short Fiction, 1987
- Lannan Literary fellowship for fiction, 1991
- American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation, for Philadelphia Fire, 1991
- PEN/Faulkner Award for Philadelphia Fire, 1991
- MacArthur fellow, MacArthur Foundation, 1993
- James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction for The Cattle Killing, 1996
- Rea Prize for short fiction, Dungannon Foundation, 1998
- Readers’ Digest/Lila Wallace grant, 1999
- Henry Award for best short story of the year, 2000
- New England Book Award for literary excellence, New England Booksellers Association, for Hoop Roots: Basketball, Race, and Love, 2001
- Chancellor’s Medal, University of Massachusetts, 2002
- Nonfiction Honor Book, Black Caucus Award, American Library Association, for Hoop Roots: Basketball, Race, and Love, 2002
Criticism and Interviews
About the Author
- Andrade, Heather. “‘Mosaic Memory:’ Auto/Biographical Context(s) in John Edgar Wideman’s Brothers and Keepers.” Massachusetts Review 40.3 (Autumn 1999): 342-66.
- Barrett, Lindon. “Black Men in the Mix: Badboys, Heroes, Sequins, and Dennis Rodman.” Callaloo 20.1 (Winter 1997): 106-26.
- Bell, Bernard W. The Afro-American Novel and Its Tradition. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1987. 307-15.
- Bennion, John. “The Shape of Memory in John Edgar Wideman’s Sent for Your Yesterday.” Black American Literature Forum 20.1-2 (1986): 143-50.
- Benthien, Claudia. “‘The Whiteness Underneath the Nigger:’ Albinism and Blackness in John Edgar Wideman’s Sent for You Yesterday.” Utah Foreign Language Review (1997): 3-13.
- Berben-Masi, Jacqueline. “Beyond Discourse: The Unspoken versus Words in the Fiction of John Edgar Wideman.” Callaloo 8.3 (Fall 1985): 525-34.
- —. “Mother Goose and Brother Loon: The Fairy-Tale-in-the-Tale as Vehicle of Displacement.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 594-602.
- —. “Prodigal and Prodigy: Fathers and Sons in Wideman’s Work.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 677-84.
- —. “Towards a Black Realization of the Hegelian Ideal: John Edgar Wideman’s
- Homewood.” Cycnos 4 (1988): 43-48.
- Birat, Kathie. “‘All Stories Are True:’ Prophecy, History and Story in The Cattle Killing.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 629-43.
- Birkets, Sven. “The Art of Memory.” New Republic 13 July 1992.
- Brown, Ellsworth H. “‘Is My Mother Safe?’ John Edgar Wideman, Homewood, and Culture.” Proceedings of Museums for the New Millenium, September 5-7, 1996. Pittsburgh: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 1996.
- Byerman, Keith E. John Edgar Wideman: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1998.
- Carden, Mary Paniccia. “’If the City is a Man:’ Founders and Fathers, Cities and Sons in John Edgar Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire.” Contemporary Literature 44.3 (Fall 2003): 472-500.
- Casmier, Stephen. “Resisting the Frame Up: Philadelphia Fire and the Liberated Voices of Ramona Africa and Margaret Jones.” Cycnos 19.2 (2002): 225-40.
- Clausen, Jan. “Native Fathers.” Kenyon Review 14.2 (Spring 1992): 44-55.
- Coleman, James W. Black Male Fiction and the Legacy of Caliban. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2001
- —. Blackness and Modernism: The Literary Career of John Edgar Wideman. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1989.
- —“Going Back Home: The Literary Development of John Edgar Wideman.” College Language Association Journal 28.3 (1985): 326-343.
- Cooke, Michael G. Afro-American Literature in the Twentieth-Century: The Achievement of Intimacy. New Haven: Yale UP, 1984. 211.
- Contemporary Authors. 2003. Gale Literary Databases. 30 Mar. 2004. <http://www.galenet.com/ servlet/GLD>. [url visible, but NO LINK]
- Dictionary of Literary Biography. 2003. Gale Literary Databases. 30 Mar. 2004. <http://www.galenet.com/servlet/GLD>. [url visible, but NO LINK]
- Dubey, Madhu. “Literature and Urban Crisis: John Edgar Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire.” African American Review 32.4 (Winter 1998): 579-95.
- —. Signs and Cities: Black Literary Postmodernism. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003.
- Dwyer, Janet Ingraham. Rev. of Two Cities. Library Journal 15 Oct. 1998: 102.
- Fabre, Michel. “Opening of the Symposium in Tours.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 587-93.
- Feith, Michel. “‘The Benefit of the Doubt:’ Openness and Closure in Brothers and Keepers.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 665-75.
- Frazier, Kermit. “The Novels of John Edgar Wideman.” Black World 24 (1975): 18-35.
- Grandjeat, Yves-Charles. “Brother Figures: The Rift and Riff in John E. Wideman’s Fiction.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 615-22.
- —. “‘These Strange Dizzy Pauses’: Silence as Common Ground in J.E. Wideman’s Texts.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999):685-94.
- Grant, Tracy. Rev. of Hoop Roots. Black Issues Book Review 3.6 (2001): 69.
- Gysin, Fritz. “‘Do Not Fall Asleep in Your Enemy’s Dream:’ John Edgar Wideman and the Predicaments of Prophecy.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 623-28.
- —. “John Edgar Wideman’s Fever.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 715-26.
- —. “Predicaments of Skin: Boundaries in Recent African American Fiction.” The Black Columbiad: Defining Moments in African American Literature and Culture. Ed. Werner Sollors and Maria Diedrich. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1994. 291-97.
- Harris, Trudier. Exorcising Blackness: Historical and Literary Lynching and Burning Rituals. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1984.
- Henderson, Carol E. Scarring the Black Body: Race and Representation in African American Literature. Columbia: U of Missouri P, 2002.
- Hennessy, C. Margot. “Listening to the Secret Mother: Reading John Edgar Wideman’s Brothers and Keepers.” American Women’s Autobiography: Fea(s)ts of Memory. Ed. Margo Culley. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1992. 295-321.
- Hoem, Sheri I. “Recontextualizing Fathers: Wideman, Foucalt and African American Genealogy.” Textual Practice 14.2 (Summer 2000): 235-51.
- —. “‘Shifting Spirits:’ Ancestral Constructs in the Postmodern Writing of John Edgar Wideman.” African American Review 34.2 (Summer 2000): 249-62.
- Janifer, Raymond E. “Looking Homewood: The Evolution of John Edgar Wideman’s Folk Imagination.” Contemporary Black Men’s Fiction and Drama. Ed. Keith Clark. Urbana, IL: U of Illinois P, 2001. 54-70.
- Jimoh, A. Yemisi. Spiritual, Blues, and Jazz People in African-American Fiction: Living in Paradox. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2002.
- Johnson, Charles. Being and Race: Black Writing since 1970. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1988.
- Julien, Claude. John Edgar Wideman: The European Response. Spec. issue of Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 537-757.
- —. “The Silent Man’s Voice in ‘The Statue of Liberty.’” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 740-49.
- Kenan, Randall. “A Most Righteous Prayer.” The Nation 1 January 1990.
- Koolish, Lynda. “John Edgar Wideman.” African American Writers: Portraits and Visions. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2001. 112-13.
- Lee, James Kyung Jin. “Where the Talented Tenth Meets the Model Minority: The Price of Privilege in Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire and Lee’s Native Speaker.”Novel: A Forum on Fiction 35.2-3 (Spring-Summer 2002): 231-57.
- Lee, Robert A. “Unfathered Native Sons.” New York Times 25 Aug. 1995, lit. supp.
- Lucy, Robin. “John Edgar Wideman.” A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson. Westport, Ct: Greenwood, 1999. 482-90.
- Lynch, Lisa. “The Fever Next Time: The Race of Diseases and the Disease of Racism in John Edgar Wideman.” American Literary History 14.4 (Winter 2002): 776-804.
- Mbalia, Doreatha Drummond. John Edgar Wideman: Reclaiming the African Personality. Selinsgrove, Pa: Susquehanna UP, 1995.
- Morace, Robert A. “The Facts in Black or White: Cheever’s Falconer, Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire.” Powerless Fictions: Ethics, Cultural Critique, and American Fiction in the Age of Postmodernism. Ed. Ricardo Miguel Alfonso. Amersterdam: Rodopi, 1996. 85-112.
- Newton, Adam Zachary. Facing Black and Jew: Literature as Public Space in Twentieth-Century America. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge UP, 1999.
- O’Brien, John. “Damballah and Hiding Place: The Presence of the Past.” Callaloo 6.1 (Feb. 1983): 168-71.
- Otter, Samuel. “Philadelphia Experiments.” Literary History 16.1 (2004): 103-16.
- Palleau-Papin, Francoise. “Of Balloons in John Edgar Wideman’s Fiction.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 645-55.
- Phillips, Caryl. “John Edgar Wideman.” BOMB 49 (Fall 1994): 34-37.
- Phillips, Mike. “Burning Bright.” The New Statesman & Society 1 Feb. 1991.
- Pickney, Darryl. “The Back-Country Blues of John Edgar Wideman.” New York Times 23 Aug. 1991, lit. supp.
- Plummer, William. “John Edgar Wideman.” People’s Weekly 11 Feb. 1985.
- Ramsey, Priscilla R. “John Edgar Wideman’s First Fiction: Voice and the Modernist Narrative.” CLA Journal 41.1 (Sept. 1997): 1-23.
- Raynaud, Claudine. “‘Mask to Mask. The ‘Real’ Joke:’ Surfiction/ Autofiction, or the Tale of the Purloined Watermelon.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 695-712.
- Richard, Jean-Pierre. “From Slavers to Drunken Boats: A Thirty-Year Palimpsest in John Edgar Wideman’s Fiction.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 656-64.
- —. “John Edgar Wideman: A Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 750-57.
- —. “Philadelphia Fire, or the Shape of a City.” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 603-13.
- Roark, Chris. “John Edgar Wideman.” African American Autobiographers: A Sourcebook. Ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002. 379-85.
- Rushdy, Ashraf H. A. “Fraternal Blues: John Edgar Wideman’s Homewood Trilogy.” Contemporary Literature 32.3 (1991): 312-45.
- Samuels, Wilfred D. “Sent for You Yesterday: Family and Communal History.” Callaloo 8.3 (Fall 1985): 665-66.
- Saunders, James Robert. “Exorcising the Demons: John Edgar Wideman’s Literary Response.” The Hollins Critic 29.5 (1992): 1-10.
- Schmidt, Klaus H. “Reading Black Postmodernism: John Edgar Wideman’s
- Reuben.” Flip Sides: New Critical Essays in American Literature. Ed. Klaus H. Schmidt. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1995. 81-102.
- Seymore, Gene. “Dream Surgeon.” The Nation 28 October 1996.
- Schultz, Elizabeth A. “The Heirs of Ralph Ellison: Patterns of Individualism in the Contemporary Afro-American Novel.” College Language Association Journal 22 (Dec. 1978): 102-22.
- Steinberg, Sybil S. Rev. of Two Cities. Publishers Weekly 3 August 1998: 72.
- TuSmith, Bonnie, and Keith Eldon Byerman, eds. Critical Essays on John Edgar Wideman. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2006.
- Trussler, Michael. “Literary Artifacts: Ekphrasis in the Short Fiction of Donald
- Barthleme, Salman Rushdie, and John Edgar Wideman.” Contemporary Literature 41.2 (Summer 2000): 252-90.
- Varsava, Jerry. “‘Woven of Many Strands:’ Multiple Subjectivity in John Edgar Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire.” Critique 41.4 (Summer 2000): 425-44.
- Weets, Tatiana. “The Negotiation of Remembrance in ‘Across the Wide Missouri.’” Callaloo 22.3 (Summer 1999): 727-39.
- Williams, Patricia J. “Meditations on Masculinity.” Callaloo 19.4 (Fall 1996): 814-22.
- Wilson, Matthew. “The Circles of History in John Edgar Wideman’s The Homewood Trilogy.” College Language Association Journal 33.3 (Mar. 1990): 239-59.
- Wood, James. “The Voices of Homewood.” New York Times 7 May 1993, lit. supp.
- “Body Language: An Interview of John Edgar Wideman by Lisa Baker.” Books & Authors Interviews. Atlantic Unbound 5 Nov. 1998. <http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/bookauth/ba981007.htm>. [keep url but NO LINK]
- Conversations with John Edgar Wideman. Ed. Bonnie TuSmith. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1998.
- “From Brothers and Keepers to Two Cities: Social and Cultural Consciousness, Art and Imagination: An Interview with John Wideman.” Callaloo
22.3 (1999): 568-84.
- “Going Home: A Conversation with John Edgar Wideman.” Callaloo 6.1 (Feb. 1983): 40-59.
- “Home: An Interview with John Edgar Wideman.” African American Review 26.3 (Autumn 1992): 453-457.
- “An Interview of John Edgar Wideman by Laura Miller.” Salon Magazine 39 (11- 15 November 1996). <http://www.salonmagazine.com/ nov96/interview961111.html>. [keep url visible; make it a link]
- Interviews with Black Writers. Ed. John O’Brien. New York: Liveright, 1973.
- “An Interview with John Edgar Wideman.” Callaloo 13.1 (1990): 47-61.
- “‘It was like meeting an old friend’: An Interview with John Edgar Wideman.” By Chris Okonkwo. Callaloo 29.2 (Spring 2006): 346-60.
- “John Edgar Wideman.” Conversations with American Novelists: The Best Interviews from the Missouri Review and the American Audio Prose Library. Columbia, MO: U of Missouri P, 1997. 92-112.
- “Storytelling and Democracy (In the Radical Sense): A Conversation with John Edgar Wideman.” African American Review 34.2 (Summer 2000): 263-72.