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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“Brilliant Corners: Improvisation and Practices of Freedom” is a critique of John Edgar Wideman’s novel, Sent for You Yesterday. The chapter interrogates Wideman’s attempt to expose the limits of masculinity and racial thinking through his use of blues-idiom musical themes and jazz aesthetics in the novel. It argues that Wideman, rather than essentializing or reifying status quo conceptions of blackness and masculinity, offers through Doot, the novel’s narrator, a model of a blues idiom literary mind and body improvising within the liminal spaces of various identities, voices, and narratives. Wideman’s novel suggests that while improvisation can create various forms of freedom from shifting, dehumanizing constraints; it is also an ever-evolving, embodied practice that demands training and continual reinvention.

Keywords: blues-idiom, collaboration, dance, embodiment, essentialism, improvisation, integration, interpolation, masculinity, narrative nesting, practices of freedom, racial thinking

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