“A Lynching in Blackface”: The Representation of History and Fantasies of Black Male Violence in John E. Wideman’s The Lynchers


  • Carmen Dexl




John Edgar Wideman’s novel The Lynchers “(1973) dramatizes African American plans to lynch a white policeman and thus promote the constitution of a black nation. Drawing on Linda Hutcheon’s intertextual conception of parody as elaborated in A Theory of Parody “(1985), this article examines the inversion of the lynching narrative at the core of The Lynchers“ as a “repetition with a critical difference“ (32). It argues that the novel’s adoption of parody serves three major functions: First, it exposes the specific workings of lynching. Second, it debunks central ingredients of the lynching mythology and third, it expresses a critical position towards the premises and implications of gendered black nationalism. 

Author Biography

Carmen Dexl

Carmen Dexl received her M.A. in English and American Studies, History, and Political Science from Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, in 2007. She is currently working on her doctoral thesis which explores the connection between ethics and representations of lynching in African American narrative literature (1900-1973). Her research took her to Cornell University, Ithaca, and Yale University, New Haven. Her academic interests include African American literature and culture, theories of ethics and aesthetics, theories of memory and trauma, and new media art and theory.




How to Cite

Dexl, Carmen. “‘A Lynching in Blackface’: The Representation of History and Fantasies of Black Male Violence in John E. Wideman’s The Lynchers”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 11, Mar. 2012, doi:10.5283/copas.126.