Lost in the City: An Exploration of Edward P. Jones's Short Fiction

Introduction: A Literary Analysis of Lost in the City

Edward P. Jones compiles fourteen short stories in his fiction collection Lost in the City (1992). The stories' events range from the 1950s to the 1980s, actualizing the life experiences within the African American communities of Washington, DC. The following essays explore the life experiences Jones captures in his stories, while challenging and reinforcing normalized representations of the Black community.

The stories' depictions of some of the landmarks are a result of Jones writing from his own memory of the city. His stories map the geography of a DC of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and early 80s. This migration, and even elimination, of landmarks in the Black communities and neighborhoods in today’s DC proves that, while Jones attempts to revitalize and reclaim this geography through his writing, much of it has been taken from the communities he writes about in the twenty-first century. Jones re-appropriates Chocolate City through the myriad acts of cultural geo-tagging in his writing in much the same way Black artists use murals and street art to tag the city itself today.

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