an international and interdisciplinary journal of postmodern cultural sound, text and image

 Volume 11, October - December 2014, ISSN 1552-5112


The Barely Functioning Author in Percival Everett’s ‘Erasure’


David Buchanan





In 1969, largely as a response to Roland Barthes’ essay, “The Death of the Author” (1967), Michel Foucault delivered his lecture, “What is an Author?” Since collected in essay form in various anthologies of literary criticism, both treatises on the nature of the author in the “game of writing” (as Foucault words it) has become a mainstay in nearly any class that discusses the evolution of fiction in the twentieth century (282).  Unexpectedly perhaps (that is, it remains unexpected to me), Foucault actually agrees with Barthes’ argument that the author’s name is a shopworn, descriptive label, a label only of, again as Foucault puts it, the “penal appropriation” of authorship that attaches itself to a piece of writing and then limits the “signified content” of the writing itself (286, 282).  In his lecture, Foucault asks us, in a mimetic mockery of Barthes’ hauntingly similar question, “What does it matter who is speaking?”  Foucault repeats the question three different times, and in three evasive answers he blithely sets aside the concept, the question, and even the answer as tired and obvious.  He says, “It is too familiar to require a lengthy analysis . . . it is a very familiar thesis . . . and none of this is recent” (282).  What I find most remarkable about these two works is that Foucault—essentially—uses Barthes’ pronouncement as an occasion to make a pronouncement or two of his own, including the suggestion that such pronouncements are self-undermining.


With his lecture, Foucault enters the conversation via a philological tight-wire, and he somehow manages to avoid a tone that is entirely dismissive or hypocritical.  To Foucault, Barthes is merely beating a dead corpse, one that had been dead and rotting far before Barthes pronounced him so.  Foucault suggests that Barthes’ observation varies little from Nietzsche’s 1883 announcement (in Thus Spake Zarathustra) that “God and man have died a common death” with one major exception (284).  Whereas Nietzsche goes on to examine the void left by God and man’s theoretical departure, Foucault bemoans the fact that arguments like Barthes’ do little more than pronounce an obvious death.  To be fair, Foucault never mentions Barthes or his article specifically.  Still, he picks up the same theme and marches down a slightly different path; his mission is to “indicate some of the difficulties that [the author’s metaphorical death] presents” to a discourse that undeniably remains after he is gone (284).


Foucault takes Barthes’ “empty affirmation” and sets out to “locate the space left empty by the author’s disappearance” (284).  And though Foucault illustrates his points with the various examples of Shakespeare, Rimbaud, Aristotle, and Pierre Dupont, it is fairly difficult to reformulate and restate his overall argument with any concision or clarity.  Maybe that is the point.  Maybe the paradigm with which Barthes and Foucault are engaging is too discursive to reduce any further considering the limits of language. Still, they are treading common ground.  Barthes writes, “Writing is that neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing” (142).  Foucault echoes, “In writing, the point is not to manifest or exalt the act of writing, nor is it to pin a subject within language; it is, rather, a question of creating a space into which the writing subject constantly disappears” (283).  Perhaps, the author—dead, alive, redefined, or reprioritized—represents such a complex reference system for a reader that any representation of that system demands a deft, experimental touch, one that eschews both the traditional prose of the critical essay and the narrative tropes of realist and modernist fiction.  Perhaps both men would agree that Percival Everett’s Erasure (2001) is the rightful next-voice in the room.  Were it possible, perhaps they would read Everett’s experimental novel as I do, as a fictive exploration of the sign system of an author who, through Everett’s layered narrative, has been suspended over the same query Foucault and Barthes propose regarding the author and his relationship with the way we engage a text. Of Balzac’s narrator in Sarrasine, Barthes asks, “Who is speaking thus?” (142). With a nod to Beckett, Foucault gently responds, “What does it matter who is speaking?” (283). On the last page of Erasure, Everett’s main character answers them both: “The answer is painful and empty” (265). 


Of course, that isn’t really an answer. Those predicate adjectives are mere descriptions of an unspecified idea.  Foucault says that he plans to locate the departed author and “follow the distribution of gaps and breaches, and watch for the openings this disappearance uncovers” (284).  It turns out that those gaps are considerably wide; that empty space is almost an impenetrable void.  Erasure steps right up and relentlessly messes with any easily traceable author reference system.  Barthes, Foucault, and Everett: all three writers grapple with the author, the author’s work, and the signifiers that bridge between the two.  In Erasure, the author in question—Thelonius “Monk” Ellison—ends up with mashed-up identity that is constructed by a reader and built with the various strands of one man’s personality and his body of written work.  Thus, Everett manages to prove both Foucault and Barthes’ correct.


Foucault admits that Barthes and postmodernism have blown wide-open a dead-author-space, and he fills it with his concept of the Author Function.  In his estimation, the author enjoys a privileged position in our culture, and once we—the reading public—accept an author, a human being signified with a proper name, the proper noun ceases to signify the biological writing human alone.  “The author’s name is not,” Foucault says, “just a proper name like the rest” (285).  On one hand, an author’s name is no different than any other noun; it cannot be turned into a pure and simple reference.  But when that name points to both a person and a person’s written body of work, including the full discourse that follows that work around, something else is signified by the name.


In Erasure, we meet an author in the opening paragraph and immediately see what Foucault means:


My journal is a private affair, but as I cannot know the time of my coming death, and since I am not disposed, however unfortunately, to the serious consideration of self-termination, I am afraid that others will see these pages. Since however I will be dead, it should not much matter to me who see what or when. My name is Thelonius Ellison. And I am a writer of fiction. This admission pains me only at the thought of my story being found and read, as I have always been severely put off by any story which had as its main character a writer. (1)


Two details from the novel’s first paragraph seem to jump out and announce the painful and empty link between this author and his work.  First, the narrator says that it “should not much matter” (emphasis mine) who reads this journal or when he or she reads it. But the rest of the novel will focus on very little but that; to Ellison, very little will matter beyond who reads his work (or doesn’t read it) and when they read it (or don’t read it).  Second, the paragraph’s metafictionality loudly announces the presence of another force at work here; the first sentence calls this a journal and the fifth calls it a story.  Which is it? Whose is it? Everett’s or Ellison’s?


The notion of this being a “private” collection of written words is actually quite funny, as if—after the reader has “found and read” these pages—he or she is now in on the joke.  If we read the journal as Ellison’s long-withheld wink in order to account for the writing and publication of Fuck, what would be the equivalent elbow nudge for Everett and Erasure?  Discussing this text’s author gets problematic quickly in a way that wouldn’t matter were this straight first-person narrative.  According to Foucault, “as soon as [the author] speaks, meaning begins to proliferate, to proliferate indefinitely” (292).  When the author speaks in Erasure, meaning certainly proliferates, but as it does it constantly begs us to wonder which author is speaking.  In 2002, Everett told an interviewer from LA Weekly that a jealous crow named Jim wrote Erasure (Ehrenreich 26).


Regardless, by framing the narrative as he does—as a sneak peak into the journal of an unread writer—Everett is playing with the modern reader’s taste for confession without doing any confessing.  He also brings into glaring focus the idea that the public and private selves rarely match.  Everett shows us that, in our reading culture, readers have an almost obsessive impulse to simultaneously blend the public object (a text with an author’s name on it) and the private subject (the hand, the artist who selected the words and placed them on the page).  Foucault’s words could serve Monk as a warning; once the proper noun of an author’s name points to a human being with a body of work, “The links between the proper name and the individual name and between the author’s name and what it names are not isomorphic and do not function in the same way” (284).  Barthes’ words could serve the reader a similar warning: “writing can no longer designate an operation of recording, notation, representation, ‘depiction’ . . . rather, it designates what linguists . . . call a performative, a rare verbal form . . . in which the enunciation has no other content (contains no other proposition) than the act by which it is uttered” (145-146).  The final words of Erasure: “hypothesis non fingo” or I feign no hypothesis (265).


The first paragraph concludes, “I am Thelonious Ellison. Call me Monk” (1). With this intrusive introduction, we are alerted to the fact that Everett is up to something beyond allowing us voyeuristically peek into a private journal.  Were it truly a “private affair,” as the very first sentence of the novel claims it to be, then why is this author-narrator speaking directly to a reader who shouldn’t be reading it at all?  It is immediately clear though that this is not your little sister’s diary.  The narrator knows full and well that Thelonious Ellison is not a proper name like any other.  He knows that it indicates his special status as an author; he knows that this journal, in all its layered complexities, will be a huge part of his own Author Function; so he goes so far as to address the reader directly, with the imperative statement “Call me Monk” (1).  This journal is part of his oeuvre now, and we suspect it was intended that way from the very beginning.  Foucault observes that “Even when an individual has been accepted as an author, we must still ask whether everything that he wrote, said, or left behind is part of his work” (283).  Is everything within the covers of Erasure part of Ellison’s work?


Foucault continues with his idea of “the work,” with Nietzsche as his example: “When undertaking the publication of Nietzsche’s works, for example, where should one stop? Surely everything must be published, but what is ‘everything’?” (283).  What about laundry lists? Notes for a possible novel? Jotted-down addresses?  Foucault would probably say yes, but wait, he’s a fictional author.  Does it matter?  After writing Fuck, Ellison muses that “The novel, so-called, was more a chair than a painting, my having designed it not as a work of art, but as a functional device, its appearance a thing to behold, but more a thing to mark, a warning perhaps, a gravestone certainly” (209).  This thing before us, this “journal,” written by a man named Thelonious Ellison, contains a multitude of items that just so happen to be bound into book form, bearing the title Erasure, written by a man named Percival Everett. Ellison even ponders Foucault whilst shaving a piece of ash wood into a table’s top, “I considered Foucault and how he begins by making assumptions about notions concerning language that he claims are misguided.  But he does not argue the point, but assumes his notions, rightly or wrongly, to be the case” (133).  In this fiction, Everett does not argue any point either; he gives the reader a frame and lets him make the case.  This is a collection of fragments become art, a device so self-reflexive that it points everywhere, causing some sort of infinite regression.  Where is the fiction and to whom is it fiction? Fuck is fiction, to Ellison and to us.  The journal isn’t fiction to him (or is it?), but it is to us. What is it to Everett?  As Ellison examines his own system of creating fiction, the reader must examine his own system of digesting that same fiction.


Under Everett’s pen the author-as-sign-system becomes complicated to an astounding degree no matter how one approaches it.  In Erasure, authors of all types—imagined and real, allusive and elusive—disappear, reappear, and never appear, and Everett fills the various spaces they leave with everything Foucault describes.  The occasion of the conference and the presence of the paper also allow Ellison a chance to give us a near-complete rundown of the public objects that are his authorial publications; he tells us that he writes “obscure novels” (3) and one “realistic novel [published] some years earlier” (11).  It’s crucial that the critic-reader has everything he or she needs to continue the discourse, and Ellison seems happy to oblige.  Later, when Ellison applies for a job at American University, the journal even provides a complete Curriculum Vitae for Ellison the scholar, quite literally a record of his oevre.  Only this CV is the official list, the one prepared for public consumption (55-58).  Is the rest of this journal the private oevre, the collection of the remaining detritus of this writer’s life, collected only to feed the discourse that follows him as it follows every artist?  One can almost imagine an English doctoral candidate, years from now, clawing through a box of Thelonious Ellison’s “papers” stored silently in the special collections department of some private college in the Midwest and finding this journal.  It’s fun to imagine the dissertation topics this menagerie could spawn if Ellison really existed, if this really was a journal.  Is this Everett’s joke?


The strength of this “thing” Everett has written lies in the fact that, somehow, there remains a textural wholeness to the work despite the fragments.  It may be sprinkled with aphorisms about woodworking and fly-fishing (among other things), but there remains a form we can recognize.  There is a clear plot; he gives us flat and round characters, developed through action, dialogue, and direct description.  There is even a penultimate scene in the apartment of Ellison’s long lost half-sister right before the climax at the Book Award ceremony.  I can even draw a certain sense of traditional resolution in the circular closure of Ellison’s final spoken words, “Egads, I’m on television” (265).  The novel retains a conventional continuity as we are allowed special witness to the identity cleaving of this main character.  One by one, his family begins to disappear, and we never get the sense that Ellison is too concerned with the integrity of any of the art that might be attached to his own name to care first for his family.  His sister is murdered; his brother retreats from their relationship into his own identity struggle; his mother recedes into her mental illness.  In fact, the only family member who remains vividly present in the journal is another author: his father.  As Ellison is to the reader, so too is Benjamin to Thelonious.  The Author Function is all that remains.


Most scholars and critics who write about Erasure have examined the novel and its obvious issues of race identity.  In her essay, “Race Under Erasure,” Margaret Russett dismisses such readings as pedestrian and obvious, “It is certainly easy—too easy—to identify Everett with Thelonious (‘Monk’) Ellison, and to read Erasure as a fictionalized account of Everett’s career.” I agree with her entirely, but then she goes on to discuss little else beyond race and its power to “[conflate] reference with representation” (358).  Such readings and analyses are important, but as Everett suggests in a 2002 interview with Ben Ehrenreich, they reflect a slightly off-target focus, and they miss the full artistic strength of novel.  Noting that Erasure isn’t even his best book, Everett complains that it received “attention for all the wrong reasons,” for what he calls “The race stuff.” Everett doesn’t go as far as to suggest that the “race stuff” is not worthy of a second look, but to him, “There’s been a lot of people getting onboard and agreeing with me, and there’s nothing more boring than that” (27).  Interestingly enough, the “boring” conference “paper” seems to be the key to a less boring approach.


In the first chapter, Ellison’s sister tells him, “I wish you’d write something I could read” (7).  Seven short pages later, we are given the actual text of a paper Ellison is presenting at a meeting of the Nouveau Roman Society.  It is an excerpt of his next novel, F/V (an intended extension of Barthes’ S/Z), punctuated with David Foster Wallace-sized footnotes.  By the time we get through the paper though, presumably understanding at the same level as the fictitious Nouveau Roman audience, we completely agree with Monk’s sister.  Though some literary critics, in real life published articles, have actually dissected this paper academically, very little of the paper was readable (for me) beyond the final sentence: “A reiteration of the obvious is never wasted on the oblivious” (17).  I stand hand in hand with other oblivious readers within and without the book, no more aware of the obvious even after reading this particular reiteration. However, I didn’t necessarily feel as if I was supposed to understand it any more than the conference attendees (Ellison is sure it will take them “a couple extra beats to actually become insulted” (13)).


In a special issue of the Canadian Review of American Studies dedicated solely to Percival Everett, Judith Roof offers a succinct summary of Ellison’s paper.  As she puts it, F/V “offers a Barthesian, Zen metacommentary on both Thelonius’ felonious fake novel and Erasure itself and is also a satire on scholarly writing” (212).  Sure, it does that, but as far as the Author Function of Thelonious Ellison is concerned, the insertion of the actual text of the actual paper directly into the text of a journal that is the text of Erasure does much more than metacommentary.  To Ellison, there is nothing fake about Fuck; it will haunt his Author Function forever.  The paper really has nothing to do with Fuck. It does, however, allow the reader a chance, from the very beginning of the novel, to begin his or her initial construction of the signified meaning of the name Thelonius “Monk” Ellison.


The “paper” also explains why no one in his family or even his agent can read his work; it brings the personal aspects of Ellison’s life to the forefront, alongside his artistic goals and his own writing aesthetic.  Thus, his Author Function begins to take on an inextricable blending of a man and his work, a unity that he wishes—like Barthes—didn’t exist.  The conference and the murder of his sister cause a perfect blending/confusion of the object and the subject in this particular author’s personal and professional worlds.  Ellison tells us that he has managed to maintain some geographic and emotional distance between himself and his family, a feat of which he is somewhat proud.  F/V essentially does the same thing; inserted into the text as it is, written as it is in such dense, pedantic, academic prose, the same distance emerges between Ellison and all of his readers (both fictional and real). He is difficult to read in more than one way.


It’s worth noting here that Everett actually published Ellison’s conference “paper” a few years prior to the publication of Erasure as a short piece of fiction in Callaloo in 1999 (it even carried the same title, “F/V: Placing the Experimental Novel”).  Perhaps even more significant, Everett’s Callaloo version included an extensive discussion of “F/V” and of the mission of the “new new novel” (21).  With Everett’s discussion of the piece that ended up as the joint Everett/Ellison F/V project, we can extrapolate a much more compelling message from Erasure.  In this discussion, Everett expounds what he sees as the future of experimental fiction, works that do what F/V purports to do.  He writes, “Auteur thinking about fiction will fade and the work will stand alone” (21).  His prediction is a lot like Foucault’s: “I think that as our society changes, at the very moment when it is in the process of changing, the Author Function will disappear, and in such a manner as fiction and its polysemous texts” (292).  Like Foucault, he also recognizes that this is a “difficult artistic mission in a culture which is so enthralled with celebrity, where names sell books and recognition makes careers” (21).

Everett continues this epilogue for the first published version of F/V:


. . . this is, I believe, the real artistic mission of the novel and, by extension, all arts. The commercial and realistic literary novels which the new novel claims to challenge kneel to the same gods as our Pynchons and Gaddises and Bellows. The novel has ceased to serve as it once did as a cultural barometer or the vehicle by which the culture speaks to itself. It has become the magic show where we care more about how the magician and his assistant are dressed, what kind of light display is offered, whether there is live music than about the content and stuff of the act itself. (22)


Erasure and the double life of F/V serves to blend “the stuff of the act” with the “magic show.”  In Foucault’s estimation, the driving force is “the old bipolar field of discourse” and the contributing “work” that subsequent critics use to continue that discourse (286, 283).  Though this “journal” questions the modes by which we access, Thelonious Ellison seems to illustrate that our dominant “man-and-his-work criticism” will, for the foreseeable future, continue to push the artist in front of his art (Foucault 283).


      Everett’s novel is also a comment on the limits of fiction and the very language that brings fiction to the page.  As Georg Lukács describes the problem of reference and being, “a relation between people takes on the character of a thing and thus acquires a ‘phantom objectivity’, an autonomy that seems so strictly rational and all-embracing as to conceal every trace of its fundamental nature” (83).  Ellison has communicated with the public, and when he looses Fuck into the world, he cannot square his bourgeois aesthetics with the “phantom objectivity” Fuck acquires and inherently extends to Ellison, Fuck’s creator.  Ellison knows that Fuck is part of his oevre now; this journal, then, is not as much of a conscience-cleaning confession as it is an attempt to control the discourse that will survive him.  He knows that Fuck and the “phenomenon of reification” have the potential to entirely bastardize his own Author Function. He knows the work cannot stand alone in a world that demands commodity management. Monk keeps “exalting” his own “act of writing,” and no matter how hard he tries, he cannot shake the impulse to “pin a subject within the language” if that subject is indeed the object of his main concern: himself (Foucault 282).


      Thus, Everett’s title is a perfect label for this work. Like the “race stuff” in Ellison’s life, most scholars simply grasp the title and apply it wholesale to the identity crisis this author faces as he tries to reconcile his writing and his physical appearance with the public’s expectations.  His identity as a black man is erased by the stereotypes of a racist public.  However, I prefer to consider the title a conspiratorial nod to Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, and their shared concept of sous rature.  Most commonly translated as “under erasure,” both philosophers employed the concept as a structure to express the limits of language, semiotics, and the way human beings experience and express being (Sarup 35).  As Gayatri Spivak summarizes in the Translator’s Preface to her translation of Derrida’s Of Grammatology, Derrida’s notion (borrowed from Martin Heidegger) of sous rature means “to write a word, cross it out (using the symbol of the chiasm: x) and then to print both word and deletion. (Since the word is inaccurate, it is crossed out.  Since it is necessary, it remains legible)” (xiv).  Derrida says that such a process serves as a “double register of production and nonproduction, without it being possible to privilege one of the two terms over the other” (68).  Spivak points out that there “is a certain difference between what Heidegger puts under erasure and what Derrida does” (xv); indeed, there is a clear difference for Everett as well.


For Heidegger and Derrida, though they put different words under erasure, they both seek to indicate that the signifier is “inadequate but necessary” (Sarup 33).  For Everett, the title is a gesture only; it is included, but like the rest of the journal it remains description free.  Is it the journal’s title or the novel’s title?  Everett’s title suggests, as a reference to Heidegger and Derrida, that the fundamental problem facing philosophy, fiction, and Thelonious Ellison is essentially the same thing.  Namely, escaping tradition means employing the very traditional means that restrict it.  Ellison’s parody novel ends up totally backfiring on him, proving perhaps that the illnesses of the publication industry and the aesthetics of a reading public may be incurable, for the moment at least.  Erasure, then, could likewise be Everett’s suggestion that addressing the problem is just barely more possible than fixing it; after all, he titled it Erasure, not Erasure.


Shortly after finding out that his parody novel is going to be published and that his money worries are over, Ellison’s real crisis begins.  He tries to heed Foucault’s warning; he tries to contain his identity strictly within the paradigm of his established Author Function.  He assigns My Pafology a preposterous pseudonym.  He invents a costume and a persona for this author stand-in.  He is trying to keep this author’s function far, far away from the one he has built for himself in an effort to displace the “empirical characteristics of the author into a transcendental anonymity” (Foucault 283).  He fails: “I tried to distance myself from the position where the newly sold piece-of-shit novel had placed me vis-à-vis my art . . . In my writing my instinct was to defy form, but I very much sought in defying it to affirm it, an irony that was difficult enough to articulate, much less defend” (139).  He is stuck in the same “double register of production and nonproduction” of Derrida’s philosophy (68).  If the novel truly could stand alone as a monologue muttered by some phantom anonymity, then Ellison should have had no problem accepting the award.  But we don’t give awards to titles; we give them to people.  In the end, Ellison must face his new Author Function no matter how crushing it ends up being to his self-perception.  He can’t kill Stagg Leigh; he can’t kill himself.


One of Ellison’s musings seems to stand out as an analogue for the novel as a whole.  It comes from a short section of his journal in which he ponders the work he has done on a small table built for his mother.  He writes, “The wood of the piece of furniture I had mutilated to make safe was still beautiful, the touch of it, even the smell of it, but it was inadequate” (152).  I suppose I like this line because it makes a nice parallel metaphor for the way I have read this novel.  Everett has mutilated the material he is destined to work with; it may be limiting, but it is still beautiful to read and, presumably, to write.  That is a nice thought, for me, and even if that somehow happened to be Everett’s secret comment with this novel as a whole, that’s all it is.  Who is uttering this line?  Is it Everett speaking?  It is Ellison speaking?  It is neither. It is both. As Foucault asks, “What difference does it make who is speaking?” (293).  It makes no difference; it makes all the difference.  The answer is empty and painful. 




an international and interdisciplinary journal of postmodern cultural sound, text and image

 Volume 11, October -December 2014, ISSN 1552-5112




Barthes, Roland. “The Death of the Author.” Image – Music – Text. New York: Hill and Wang,

1977. 142-148. Print.

Eaton, Kimberly. “Deconstructing the Narrative: Language, Genre, and Experience in Erasure.”

Nebula 3.2-3 (Sept. 2006): 220-231. Print.

Ehrenreich, Ben. “Invisible Man.Conversations with Percival Everett. Ed. Joe Weixlmann.

Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2013. 24-28. Print.

Everett, Percival. Erasure. Minneapolis: Gray Wolf Press, 2001. Print.

----. “F/V: Placing the Experimental Novel.” Callaloo 22.1 (Winter 1999): 18-23. Web.

ProjectMuse. 8 Nov 13.

Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Trans. Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1976. Print.

Foucault, Michel. “What is an author?” Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader. Ed. David

Lodge and Nigel Wood. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson, 2008. 280-293. Print.

Lukács, Georg. History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics. Trans. Rodney

Livingstone. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1968. Print.

Morton, Seth. “Locating the Experimental Novel in Erasure and The Water Cure.” Canadian

Review of American Studies 43.2 (Summer 2013): 189-201. Web. ProjectMuse. 1 Nov. 13. 

Powell, Tara. “Percival Everett – Erasure.” Still in Print: The Southern Novel Today. Ed. Jan

Nordby Gretlund. Columbia: U of South Carolina P, 2011. 73-87. Print.

Roof, Judith. “Everett’s Hypernarrator.” Canadian Review of American Studies 43.2 (Summer

2013): 202-215. Web. ProjectMuse. 1 Nov 13.

Russett, Margaret. “Race Under Erasure.” Callaloo 28.2 (Spring 2005): 358-368. Web.

ProjectMuse. 9 Nov 13.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakrovorty. Preface. Of Grammatology. By Jacques Derrida. Trans.

Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1976. ix-lxxxv. Print.

Stewart, Anthony. “Giving the People What They Want: The African American Exception as

Racial Cliché in Percival Everett’s Erasure.” American Exceptionalisms: From Winthrop to Winfrey. Ed. Sylvia Soderlind and James Taylor Carson. Albany: State U of New York P, 2011. Print.