The Continuing Challenges of Percival Everett

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 6316

Special Issue Editor

Department of English, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA
Interests: African American literature and culture; percival everett; 20th-century history; modernism/postmodernism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you are doing well during these uncertain times. Please find attached a call for submissions for a Special Issue of Humanities, an international, scholarly, peer-reviewed, open-access journal. This Issue will be on the work of Percival Everett. As you will see from the list of suggested topics, I intend this collection to be as wide-ranging as possible.  I hope you will consider making a contribution to the collection.

The artistic production of Percival Everett (whether in fiction, poetry, or painting) continues to beguile some and elude others. Scholars who work on Everett’s work, or (perhaps more accurately) produce work based on what Everett encourages them to think about, conventionally find ourselves attempting to “explain” this artist’s work to the uninitiated. Therefore, the title of this Special Issue does not refer to the challenges Everett faces, but to those his varied work poses for those who presume to take it on.

Drafts of articles may be sent to afs006@bucknell.edu by the deadline indicated at the opening of this call for papers. Papers will be peer-reviewed. Please do not hesitate if you have any questions. All best, and stay well.

Suggested topics but not limited:

  • Representations of home in Everett;
  • Everett and being American;
  • Early Everett vs. later Everett;
  • Everett and non-Everett (comparing to other writers);
  • Everett and non-Everett (books of Everett’s that don’t read like Everett);
  • Trauma in Everett;
  • Politics in Everett;
  • Everett and form (political, aesthetic, moral);
  • Everett’s poetry. 

Prof. Dr. Anthony Stewart
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
“The United States of Lyncherdom”: Humor and Outrage in Percival Everett’s The Trees (2021)
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050125 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1164
Abstract
An oeuvre as redolent with the spirit of satire and humor as Percival Everett’s can be said to represent, at the same time, an anthology of humorous devices—a “humorology,” so to speak—and a self-reflexive meditation on the existential, philosophical and/or metaphysical implications of [...] Read more.
An oeuvre as redolent with the spirit of satire and humor as Percival Everett’s can be said to represent, at the same time, an anthology of humorous devices—a “humorology,” so to speak—and a self-reflexive meditation on the existential, philosophical and/or metaphysical implications of such an attitude to language and life. The Trees (2021) is a book about lynching, in which a series of gruesome murders all allude to the martyrdom of Emmett Till. Even though such subject matter seems antinomic to humor, the novel is rife with it. We propose an examination of the various guises of humor in this text, from wordplay and carnivalesque inversion to the more sinister humour noir, black or gallows humor, and an assessment of their dynamic modus operandi in relation to political satire, literary parody and the expression of the unconscious. The three axes of our analysis of the subversive strategies of the novel will be the poetics of naming, from parody to a form of sublime; the grotesque, macabre treatment of bodies; and the question of affect, the dual tonality of the novel vexingly conjugating the emotional distance and release of humor with a sense of outrage both toned down and exacerbated by ironic indirection. In keeping with the ethos of Menippean satire, humor is, therefore, both medium and message. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Continuing Challenges of Percival Everett)
10 pages, 274 KiB  
Article
Reading the “Slash” in Percival Everett’s American Desert
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050104 - 19 Sep 2023
Viewed by 808
Abstract
This article explores Percival Everett’s multi-dimensional use of a concept he has termed the “slash” (i.e., the line that both separates and conjoins signifier/signified) in his novel American Desert. In effect, this slash is a trope Everett deploys to compel readers not [...] Read more.
This article explores Percival Everett’s multi-dimensional use of a concept he has termed the “slash” (i.e., the line that both separates and conjoins signifier/signified) in his novel American Desert. In effect, this slash is a trope Everett deploys to compel readers not to align themselves with what might otherwise be perceived as the author’s message but rather to explore a wide range of the possible ideas and provisional meanings his fiction might generate, challenge these perceived meanings, constructively play with his text, and eventually tease out some (inevitably contingent) concepts that may, upon further consideration, morph into newer, richer sets of understanding. Although Everett’s use of the slash is not unique to American Desert, it is arguably the novel in which he uses the trope most pervasively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Continuing Challenges of Percival Everett)
12 pages, 247 KiB  
Article
Read with Me/While We Wait—A Community of Voices in Percival Everett’s Trout’s Lie
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050099 - 15 Sep 2023
Viewed by 679
Abstract
In Trout’s Lie, Percival Everett seems to be once more exploring pure form as part of a quest for abstraction. Yet the effect of the poems in the collection largely relies on the materiality of language characterizing all poetry—mostly a play on [...] Read more.
In Trout’s Lie, Percival Everett seems to be once more exploring pure form as part of a quest for abstraction. Yet the effect of the poems in the collection largely relies on the materiality of language characterizing all poetry—mostly a play on sounds and the visual dimension of the text. How to conciliate the quest for pure form and the unruliness of the bodily? It will be argued that Everett brings them together through a work on forms not only in space but also in time, focusing on endings in both the abstract and the concrete sense of the term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Continuing Challenges of Percival Everett)
16 pages, 303 KiB  
Article
Naturalistic Elements in Percival Everett’s Wounded
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050095 - 08 Sep 2023
Viewed by 847
Abstract
This article examines Percival Everett’s 2005 novel Wounded through three applications of the word “naturalistic” in order to show how the work complicates divisions between nature and man and man and animal. First, the article shows how its protagonist, John Hunt, contends with [...] Read more.
This article examines Percival Everett’s 2005 novel Wounded through three applications of the word “naturalistic” in order to show how the work complicates divisions between nature and man and man and animal. First, the article shows how its protagonist, John Hunt, contends with his relationship to nature as both a source of respite and as part of his livelihood as a horse trainer. Next, “naturalistic” elements of Wounded reveal how the mythic West of classic Westerns has influenced perspectives on the “real” West. Finally, the article assesses Wounded as a work of American literary naturalism, particularly in terms of the questions it inspires about free will and determinism. Together, these applications of the word “naturalistic” expose how nature acts as John’s barometer for human morality and individualism, forcing us to question whether man is truly superior over nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Continuing Challenges of Percival Everett)
12 pages, 274 KiB  
Article
Digging Up the Past, Complicating the Present, and Damaging the Future: Post-Postmodernism and the Postracial in Percival Everett’s The Trees
Humanities 2023, 12(4), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12040086 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 998
Abstract
Percival Everett has published almost thirty books of fiction in forty years, and The Trees is his 22nd novel. It revisits ideas from Everett’s earlier works while asking questions that, in some ways, tie his oeuvre together—these questions can be linked to temporality [...] Read more.
Percival Everett has published almost thirty books of fiction in forty years, and The Trees is his 22nd novel. It revisits ideas from Everett’s earlier works while asking questions that, in some ways, tie his oeuvre together—these questions can be linked to temporality and history, problematic literary ideas such as post-postmodernism, and both racialised trauma and the flawed cultural concept of the postracial. In this article, I argue that The Trees specifically problematises claims of the postmodern end of history by suggesting that African American literary narrative can productively reckon with a history of mistreatment by literally digging up the past and actively (impossibly) changing it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Continuing Challenges of Percival Everett)
14 pages, 274 KiB  
Article
Network Temporality in Percival Everett’s Poetry
Humanities 2023, 12(4), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12040084 - 16 Aug 2023
Viewed by 804
Abstract
Drawing on new media scholarship, the article suggests that Percival Everett’s poetry can be understood through the lens of hypergraphical knowledge. In this context, Everett’s poetry operates as a synchronic and diachronic exploration of poetic movements, genres, forms, and inheritances, embodying network-temporal relations [...] Read more.
Drawing on new media scholarship, the article suggests that Percival Everett’s poetry can be understood through the lens of hypergraphical knowledge. In this context, Everett’s poetry operates as a synchronic and diachronic exploration of poetic movements, genres, forms, and inheritances, embodying network-temporal relations similar to the hypernarrator(s) of his fiction. Ultimately, this analysis observes the expansive and cohesive nature of Everett’s work, inviting readers to refocus their attention on the indeterminate surface of, and the intricate web of meaning in his poetry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Continuing Challenges of Percival Everett)
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