University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

Colson Whitehead

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Companion to Twenty-First-Century Literary Fiction
EditorsRobert Eaglestone, Daniel O'Gorman
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter38
Pages434-444
Number of pages11
Edition1st
ISBN (Print)978-0415716048
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2018

Abstract

This chapter shows how Colson Whitehead is consistently revealing how African American history and memory suffuse every corner of US identity. Whitehead’s extremely varied writing transcends genre and time, but it is always firmly rooted in the complexities and vicissitudes of race and national identity in the United States. While his work can be connected to other African American writers of his generation – say Toni Morrison or Percival Everett – Whitehead’s oeuvre is distinct. Born in New York City in 1969, Whitehead is a Harvard graduate, a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, and winner of numerous prizes. In John Henry Days, Whitehead explored the ways in which the United States constructs its past(s). After the imaginative and metaphoric reach of Whitehead’s first novel, he published John Henry Days, a broad and ‘polyphonic novel that strives to capture the spirit of a nation’. Whitehead’s work fits both seamlessly and uneasily into the broader map of twenty-first-century fiction.

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