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Richard Wright (1) (1908–1960)

Autor(a) de Native Son

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55+ Works 17,317 Membros 220 Reviews 32 Favorited

About the Author

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 mostrar mais 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) mostrar menos
Image credit: Richard Wright (1908-1960)
Photograph by Gordon Parks, May 1943
(Farm Security Administration-
Office of War Information Photograph Collection,
Library of Congress)

Obras de Richard Wright

Native Son (1940) 7,791 cópias
Black Boy (1945) 5,244 cópias
Uncle Tom's Children (1938) 750 cópias
The Outsider (1953) 397 cópias
Eight Men: Short Stories (1961) 269 cópias
The Man Who Lived Underground (2021) 261 cópias
Native Son (Abridged) (1940) 226 cópias
Rite of passage (1994) 188 cópias
American Hunger (1977) 185 cópias
12 Million Black Voices (1941) 155 cópias
Haiku: This Other World (1998) 135 cópias
Pagan Spain (1957) 117 cópias
A Father's Law (2008) 99 cópias
Lawd Today! (1963) 98 cópias
The Long Dream (1958) 97 cópias
White Man, Listen! (1957) 81 cópias
Savage Holiday (1954) 62 cópias
Richard Wright Reader (1978) 38 cópias
Native Son / Black Boy (1987) 37 cópias
Thy Fearful Symmetry (2012) 16 cópias
Almos' a Man (2000) 9 cópias
Injustice: Vintage Minis (2018) 8 cópias
Bright and Morning Star (1939) 7 cópias
Richard Wright (2002) 3 cópias
Neli meest : [novellid] (1963) 3 cópias
Blueprint for Negro Writing (1937) 2 cópias
Black Boy [Easy Reader] (1971) 2 cópias
Der schwarze Traum (1971) 1 exemplar(es)
Callaloo Vol. 9 No. 3 (1986) 1 exemplar(es)
Wright Richard 1 exemplar(es)
Mi vida de negro 1 exemplar(es)
Długi sen 1 exemplar(es)
Sanje nekega življenja 1 exemplar(es)
Sangre negra 1 exemplar(es)
Fire and cloud 1 exemplar(es)
Five Famous Writers 1 exemplar(es)

Associated Works

The Best American Short Stories of the Century (2000) — Contribuinte — 1,570 cópias
Winter Poems (1994) — Contribuinte — 1,208 cópias
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contribuinte, algumas edições930 cópias
The Best American Essays of the Century (2000) — Contribuinte — 785 cópias
The Oxford Book of American Short Stories (1992) — Contribuinte — 757 cópias
Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study (1992) — Contribuinte, algumas edições518 cópias
The God That Failed (1944) — Contribuinte — 435 cópias
The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader (1994) — Contribuinte — 409 cópias
Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (1993) — Contribuinte — 338 cópias
A Treasury of Short Stories (1947) — Contribuinte — 296 cópias
Modern American Memoirs (1995) — Contribuinte — 190 cópias
This Is My Best (1942) — Contribuinte — 188 cópias
African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song (2020) — Contribuinte — 177 cópias
Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (1962) — Introdução, algumas edições164 cópias
Blues Fell This Morning: Meaning in the Blues (1963) — Prefácio — 152 cópias
The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Work (2010) — Contribuinte — 142 cópias
The Signet Classic Book of Southern Short Stories (1991) — Contribuinte — 121 cópias
Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be White (1998) — Contribuinte — 121 cópias
Voices from the Harlem Renaissance (1976) — Contribuinte — 107 cópias
The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology (1997) — Contribuinte — 99 cópias
The 100 Best African American Poems (2010) — Contribuinte — 98 cópias
American Short Stories (1976) — Contribuinte, algumas edições95 cópias
Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America (1995) — Contribuinte — 91 cópias
The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Concise Edition (2003) — Contribuinte — 69 cópias
200 Years of Great American Short Stories (1975) — Contribuinte — 68 cópias
D.C. Noir 2: The Classics (2008) — Contribuinte — 63 cópias
Racism and Sexism: An Integrated Study (1988) — Contribuinte — 62 cópias
American Negro Short Stories (1966) — Contribuinte — 61 cópias
Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African American Poetry (1997) — Contribuinte — 57 cópias
Chicago Noir: The Classics (2015) — Contribuinte — 53 cópias
Eleven Modern Short Novels (1970) — Contribuinte — 49 cópias
Soulscript: Afro-American Poetry (1970) — Contribuinte — 41 cópias
Southern Dogs and Their People (2000) — Contribuinte — 39 cópias
New Masses; An Anthology of the Rebel Thirties, (1969) — Contribuinte — 38 cópias
Fifty Best American Short Stories 1915-1965 (1965) — Contribuinte — 36 cópias
50 Best American Short Stories 1915-1939 (1939) — Contribuinte — 28 cópias
America on Stage : Ten Great Plays of American History (1976) — Contribuinte — 22 cópias
Black Theater USA : 45 Plays By Black Americans : 1847-1974 (1973) — Contribuinte — 20 cópias
Modern American Short Stories (1945) — Contribuinte — 15 cópias
Mississippi Writers: An Anthology (1991) — Contribuinte — 15 cópias
Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City, Volume I (1962) — Introdução, algumas edições10 cópias
Quintet: 5 of the World's Greatest Short Novels (1956) — Contribuinte — 6 cópias
Native Son [1951 film] (2003) — Actor / Original book — 5 cópias
The Best American Short Stories 1958 (1958) — Contribuinte — 5 cópias
O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1938 (1938) — Contribuinte — 4 cópias
Let Us Be Men (1969) — Contribuinte — 3 cópias
Twelve short novels (1976) — Contribuinte — 3 cópias
Strange Barriers (1955) — Contribuinte — 2 cópias
The Ethnic Image in Modern American Literature, 1900-1950 (1984) — Contribuinte — 1 exemplar(es)
Introduction to Fiction (1974) — Contribuinte — 1 exemplar(es)
Native Son [2019 film] — Original novel — 1 exemplar(es)


Conhecimento Comum



This book articulates the pain of being black in America like nothing else I've ever read. It's difficult to read in places, but it's a necessary difficulty.
Library_Guard | outras 2 resenhas | Jun 17, 2024 |
This autobiography is an emotional trek. From racism to communism, Richard Wright expresses the issues with clarity and understanding which force the issues into the light of fact rather than emotion, but without reducing the emotional situation Wright is placed in. The story expresses a variety of difficult situations and how Wright tried to negotiate a solution. Due to the family background, Wright had to grow up quickly. Many sacrifices needed to be made such as going hungry to save money to travel to northern states. Developments such as learning to make an income and write are the undercurrent of the story which exemplify how Wright dealt with ethical issues. The book is separated into two parts which illuminate divergent thoughts for Wright and the country: the first part of the book is Wrights’ life in the South, with the second part of the book being his life in the North.

Wright grew up in a neighborhood that lacked diversity in race and religious opinion. Wright had to move to different homes due to different reason and circumstances but mostly due to a lack of family income. Wright’s mother becoming ill caused a him and his brother to be placed in different relatives’ homes. Wright asked to go back to be near his mother who was being taken care by his grandmother and an aunt. The family was part of a community and part of the community meant being part of the church. Wright’s grandmother and aunt were influential figures in this religious community, but Wright himself did not wish to participate in religious life. This created a family conflict in which Wright was maltreated due to a lack of religious participation. The community also made his life difficult and tried to prevent communication with Wright. Even as Wright became valedictorian, his own community would not allow to raise his station in life, they continuously held Wright back.

Due to lack of contact with White people, Wright saw them as “strangely different” but just like other people. Expected behavior between Whites and Blacks was intuitive, never openly explained. Wright did not see the inferiority and so behaved differently than expected. When Wright was trying to earn an income, he had trouble maintaining jobs due to an inability to cope with expected behavior. Maintaining a subservient position was difficult for Wright. Blacks in the South wanted conformity to their views such as inferiority to the Whites. The hostility shown by Whites was deeply ingrained which caused tension at the mention of Whites.

Needing to get out of the South, Wright saved money by reducing the amount spent on food. Making it to the North, Wright notes an extremely different culture. There was no noticeable contempt held by White people against Black people. Although the North did not have any indication of racial tension, Wright naturally assumed that Whites were conspiring against him. Even when faced with those genuinely interested in helping Wright, Wright did not accept them.

Wright was invited to join a writing club, but it was attached to the Communist party. Wright was sympathetic for some “Communist analysis of the world” but could not accept the simplicity and myopia of the visions. By joining the party, he had finally made lasting relations and helped define the local branch of the Communist party. Wright saw no racial hate in the Communist party but had intellectual hate. As Wright points out, the emotional certainty contradicted the knowledge denied to everyone else. Communists expressed radical difference against the conformity of views about capitalism but vilified anyone who disagrees with any message by the communists. When Wright was leaving the party, the Communist party tried to deny him as much freedom as possible. Wright went to the North to be able to speak freely but the Communist party did not tolerate those who questioned its interest, making Wright have the same fears he had in the South.

As Wright is writing about himself, he selected the parts of his life to be displayed which at times make Wright appear as an unreliable narrator. Some parts of the story seem to be missing. They seem missing because Wright explained certain situations with extreme depth and care to his intentions and thoughts, but when presenting a similar situation, he describes them briefly without providing the full context and narrating the situation from somewhere in the middle. Another indicator of some unreliability is the clarity of conversations. Conversations come from a seemingly perfect recollection, even those at a young age. These issues do take away some of the bona fide from story, but even if the issues are real, the eloquence created maintain the generalization.

The story expresses how Wright tried to keep moral righteousness despite circumstance, only stooping to stealing or lying under intense situation. Did not want to steal as it was futile, contrary to others in Wright’s situation who thought it was the only way to get ahead. Certain themes are not as salient but have deep implications such as the difficulty in questioning authority figures and questioning circumstance despite the claims of others. Wright read to help define the situation he was in and wrote as a way of seeing the situation.
… (mais)
Eugene_Kernes | outras 68 resenhas | Jun 4, 2024 |
This book shows the social circumstances which led a black boy called Bigger to commit murder. A sequence of events which transpire after the initial murder exacerbate the situation. Bigger is set to be made an example of even though similar events did not drive so much attention. Decisions are expressed as part of prior experiences rather than stand alone events as the same event appears differently from different perspectives based on respective experiences. The enormous amount of hate within the society towards blacks and communists are the centerpiece of this story. Many social aspects of society are present such as conditions which force blacks to live in poor conditions with higher rents.

There are three parts to the book with each becoming more interesting. From a short showing of what life was about to before the murder, to trying to obtain money to run away, to the trial.
… (mais)
Eugene_Kernes | outras 101 resenhas | Jun 4, 2024 |
This was a difficult but important book to read. The essay at the end, entitled “How Bigger was Born,” is equal parts an exploration of Wright’s creative process and a klaxon sounding against white ignorance of the black experience. When Wright began this essay talking about the overused trumped-up charge of r*pe levied against black men in the Jim Crow era, I couldn’t help but think of the reaction of many conservative whites to #MeToo, to the effect that they were worried that their sons’ or their own lives would be ruined by false accusations of sexual misconduct. Wright would surely say something to the effect of “Now, you understand something of what we’ve been going through.” I don’t recall if there were any black commentators who made this point, but it wouldn’t surprise me. A key difference, of course, is that the vast majority of mostly powerful whites who were accused were likely guilty, whereas the vast majority of kostly powerless blacks were likely innocent.

I also recognized some parallels to Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984: a strong desire to rebel against an oppressive system, couched even in terms of violence, but ultimately the same fate and failure.
… (mais)
mmodine | outras 101 resenhas | May 2, 2024 |


1940s (1)
AP Lit (2)


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Associated Authors

Edwin Rosskam Photo-Direction
Arnold Rampersad Notes, Introduction, Editor, , Afterword
Malcolm Wright Afterword
Nina Crews Introduction
John Reilly Afterword
David Diaz Cover artist, Illustrator
Caryl Phillips Introduction
Camillo Pellizzi Translator
Mary Schuck Cover designer
Gösta Olzon Translator
Peter Cade Cover artist
Bruno Fonzi Translator
Jerry W. Ward, Jr. Introduction
Julia Wright Contributor
Richard Yarborough Introduction
Ethan Herisse Narrator
Stephanie Rosenfeld Book and cover designer
Keneth Kinnamon Contributor
Cornel West Introduction
John Williams Foreword


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