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Richard Wright (1) (1908–1960)

Auteur van Zoon van Amerika

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Over de Auteur

Richard Wright was generally thought of as one of the most gifted contemporary African American writers until the rise of James Baldwin. "With Wright, the pain of being a Negro is basically economic---its sight is mainly in the pocket. With Baldwin, the pain suffuses the whole man. . . . If toon meer Baldwin's sights are higher than Wright's, it is in part because Wright helped to raise them" (Time). Wright was born on a plantation near Natchez, Mississippi, the son of a sharecropper. At the age of 15, he started to work in Memphis, then in Chicago, then "bummed all over the country," supporting himself by various odd jobs. His early writing was in the smaller magazines---first poetry, then prose. He won Story Story's $500 prize---for the best story written by a worker on the Writer's Project---with "Uncle Tom's Children" in 1938, his first important publication. He wrote Native Son (1940) in eight months, and it made his reputation. Based in part on the actual case of a young black murderer of a white woman, it was one of the first of the African American protest novels, violent and shocking in its scenes of cruelty, hunger, rape, murder, flight, and prison. Black Boy (1945) is the simple, vivid, and poignant story of Wright's early years in the South. It appeared at the beginning of a new postwar awareness of the evils of racial prejudice and did much to call attention to the plight of the African American. The Outsider (1953) is a novel based on Wright's own experience as a member of the Communist party, an affiliation he terminated in 1944. He remained politically inactive thereafter and from 1946 until his death made his principal residence in Paris. His nonfiction writings on problems of his race include Black Power: A Record of Reactions in a Land of Pathos (1954), about a visit to the Gold Coast, White Man, Listen (1957), and Twelve Million Black Voices: A Folk History of the Negro in the United States. (Bowker Author Biography) Richard Wright was born on a plantation near Natchez, Mississippi. His father left the family when Wright was only five years old, and he was raised first by his mother and then by a series of relatives. What little schooling he had ended with his graduation from ninth grade in Memphis, Tennessee. At age 15, he started to work in Memphis, and later worked in Chicago before traveling across the country supporting himself with odd jobs. When Wright finally returned to Chicago, he got a job with the federal Writer's Project, a government-supported arts program. He was quite successful, winning a $500 prize from a magazine for the best fiction written by a participant in that program. In Chicago, he was also introduced to leftist politics and became a member of the Communist Party. In 1937, Wright left Chicago for New York, where he became Harlem editor for the Communist national newspaper, The Daily Worker, and where he met future novelist, Ralph Ellison. Wright became a celebrated author with the publication of Native Son (1940), a novel he wrote in only eight months. Based on the actual case of a young black murderer of a white woman, it was one of the first of the modern black protest novels, violent and shocking in its sense of cruelty, hunger, rape, murder, flight, and prison. This novel brought Wright both fame and financial security. He followed it with his autobiography, Black Boy (1945), which was also successful. In 1942, Wright and his wife broke with the Communist Party, and in 1947, they moved to France, where Wright lived the rest of his life. His novel The Outsider (1953) is based on his experiences as a member of the Communist Party. Wright is regarded as a major modern American writer, one of the first black writers to reach a large white audience, and thereby raise the level of national awareness of the continuing problem of racism in America. In many respects Wright paved the way for all black writers who followed him. (Bowker Author Biography) toon minder
Fotografie: Richard Wright (1908-1960)
Photograph by Gordon Parks, May 1943
(Farm Security Administration-
Office of War Information Photograph Collection,
Library of Congress)

Werken van Richard Wright

Zoon van Amerika (1940) 7,549 exemplaren
Black Boy (1945) 5,067 exemplaren
Uncle Tom's Children (1938) 717 exemplaren
The Outsider (1953) 385 exemplaren
Eight Men: Short Stories (1961) 251 exemplaren
The Man Who Lived Underground (2021) 238 exemplaren
Native Son (Abridged) (1940) 217 exemplaren
American Hunger (1977) 177 exemplaren
Rite of passage (1994) 175 exemplaren
12 Million Black Voices (1941) 149 exemplaren
Haiku: This Other World (1998) 125 exemplaren
Pagan Spain (1957) 111 exemplaren
The Long Dream (1958) 94 exemplaren
Lawd Today! (1963) 93 exemplaren
A Father's Law (2008) 92 exemplaren
White Man, Listen! (1957) 77 exemplaren
Savage Holiday (1954) 58 exemplaren
Richard Wright Reader (1978) 38 exemplaren
Native Son / Black Boy (1987) 36 exemplaren
Thy Fearful Symmetry (2012) 16 exemplaren
Almos' a Man (2000) 9 exemplaren
Injustice: Vintage Minis (2018) 8 exemplaren
Bright and Morning Star (1939) 7 exemplaren
Down by the Riverside 4 exemplaren
Richard Wright (2002) 3 exemplaren
Neli meest : [novellid] (1963) 3 exemplaren
Blueprint for Negro Writing (1937) 2 exemplaren
Black Boy [Easy Reader] (1971) 2 exemplaren
Callaloo Vol. 9 No. 3 (1986) 1 exemplaar
Der schwarze Traum (1971) 1 exemplaar
Wright Richard 1 exemplaar
Fire and cloud 1 exemplaar

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Algemene kennis



56. The Man Who Lived Underground by Richard Wright
afterward Malcolm Wright (2021)
OPD: 2021 (written 1941-1942, with a shortened version published in 1944)
format: 228-page Kindle ebook
acquired: October 3 read: Oct 4-15 time reading: 5:44, 1.5 mpp
rating: 4
genre/style: Novel theme: Richard Wright
locations: unknown American city, probably southern
about the author: American author born on a Mississippi plantation, 1908-1960

This for me was a curiosity, part powerful, part quirky. Wright takes a close look at police brutality against African Americans (a point noted in his publisher's rejection documentation) and then an almost surreal look at a refugee living in American sewers. Fred Daniels, a good church-going upstanding person and expectant father, is arrested for a murder he knows nothing about. He's not questioned, but beat-up by an all-white police force demanding a confession. It's not clear where his mind was before this happens, but he gets rattled, and it seems his mind is never able to settle down. Instead, in the sewers he tunnels, and he stumbles across apparent odd truths about the basics in life - religion, death, money, entertainment, etc.

Maybe think Plato's cave. It's a combination of Wright's creativity and what I see has his semi-super-aware, semi-blind romantic mindset. It makes an odd combination of strange guy in a strange place doing strange things that don't quite make sense. In a long afterward, which Wright intended to be published with the novel, he explained the novel as a response to the stubborn illogical religious faith his grandmother followed and depended on, a source of conflict between he and his grandmother, his main parent during his older childhood.

This is a lost novel. Wright wrote it written during WW2, in 1942, but it was rejected for publication by his publisher. A shorter version was published in a journal, and later in a posthumous collection. Wright moved on, composing [Black Boy], his classic published in 1945. There he goes directly into his grandmother's religion and state of mind, and its impacts on him. The full version of this novel was first published in 2021, after Wright's grandson, Malcolm Wright, pushed for it.

… (meer)
dchaikin | 11 andere besprekingen | Oct 22, 2023 |
I read this to go along with a free online course (The American Novel since 1945). With that in mind, I guess the most immediate question I had was "What does an autobiography have to do with novels?" Well, it turns out that Wright wrote dramatic scenes with sharply written dialogue. While events do follow his own life, he apparently used incidents that happened to people he knew as readily as he used those that happened to himself. We can see from the end of the book, when he was involved with the Communist Party, that he was growing more concerned with expressing the feeling of being a black southerner. The first half of Black Boy succeeded in that.

The second part was quite different. Based on other books I have read, I thought his view of the North was a bit idealistic. Maybe the silly and grating inter-politics of the Communist Party's artist clubs made a more poignant and less-expected comparison to the racism and religion that kept him down in the South and became the focus for that reason.
… (meer)
bannedforaday | 67 andere besprekingen | Oct 22, 2023 |
RCornell | 3 andere besprekingen | Oct 21, 2023 |
RCornell | 2 andere besprekingen | Oct 21, 2023 |


1940s (1)
AP Lit (2)


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