Author: Richard Wright
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2000
Genre: African American men
'The most important and celebrated novel of Negro life to have appeared in America' - James Baldwin Gripping and furious, Native Son follows Bigger Thomas, a young black man who is trapped in a life of poverty in the slums of Chicago. Unwittingly involved in a wealthy woman's death, he is hunted relentlessly, baited by prejudiced officials, charged with murder and driven to acknowledge a strange pride in his crime. Native Son shocked readers on its first publication in 1940 and went on to make Richard Wright the first bestselling black writer in America.
Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright's novel is just as powerful today as when it was written -- in its reflection of poverty and hopelessness, and what it means to be black in America. This abridged edition includes an introduction, "How Bigger Was Born," by the author, as well as an afterword by John Reilly.
The eleven essays collected in this volume engage the objective of Rodopi's Dialogue Series by creating multidirectional conversations in which senior and younger scholars interact with each other and with previous scholars who have weighed in on the novel's import. Speaking from distant corners of the world, the contributors to this book reflect an international interest in Wright's unique combination of literary strategies and social aims. The present volume may be of interest for students who are not very familiar with Wright's classic text as well as for scholars and Richard Wright specialists.
Author: Stephen Schryer
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2011-03-15
Genre: Literary Criticism
America's post–World War II prosperity created a boom in higher education, expanding the number of university-educated readers and making a new literary politics possible. Writers began to direct their work toward the growing professional class, and the American public in turn became more open to literary culture. This relationship imbued fiction with a new social and cultural import, allowing authors to envision themselves as unique cultural educators. It also changed the nature of literary representation: writers came to depict social reality as a tissue of ideas produced by knowledge elites. Linking literary and historical trends, Stephen Schryer underscores the exalted fantasies that arose from postwar American writers' new sense of their cultural mission. Hoping to transform capitalism from within, writers and critics tried to cultivate aesthetically attuned professionals who could disrupt the narrow materialism of the bourgeoisie. Reading Don DeLillo, Marge Piercy, Mary McCarthy, Saul Bellow, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ralph Ellison, and Lionel Trilling, among others, Schryer unravels the postwar idea of American literature as a vehicle for instruction, while highlighting both the promise and flaws inherent in this vision.
Author: Edward J. Blum
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Literary Criticism
This title presents new evaluations on the significance of Du Bois. ""The Souls of W. E. B. Du Bois"" is a collection of articles that treat Du Bois on the subject of religion by reintroducing his life and work to an audience that may be familiar with his work generally but may never have seen analyses of his study of religion. Because the project includes articles that examine both Du Bois' personal religious life along with his examination of religion, the editors seek to add not only to our knowledge of Du Bois' scholarly contributions but also hope to shed light on his personal life and religiosity. Also, in treating the biography and career of a thinker whose work covers much of the twentieth century, the editors intend this work to address larger issues related to religion in the United States over the course of the century. Just as Du Bois' foresight predicted a century marred by racial violence, so his varied explorations into the role of religion in the modern world anticipated the rise of contemporary tensions borne of the global circulation of corporate capital and commerce, of religious fundamentalism and evangelical theology. Indeed, Du Bois identified the critical paradox and presumed contradiction between America's religious legacy built on morality, justice, and equality with the country's impending devotion to progress, modernity, and money. Throughout his life and writing, Du Bois explored the special tensions that erupted in a nation bowing before two gods. Unfortunately, scholarly treatment of both Du Bois' critical writings on religion as well as his own personal religious development has been relatively lacking. The soulful side of the man whose most-famous work was about the souls of black folk, in short, has been largely neglected.
Richard Wright's powerful and eloquent memoir of his journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South—at once an unashamed confession and a profound indictment, Black Boy is a poignant and disturbing record of social injustice and human suffering. When Black Boy exploded onto the literary scene in 1945, it caused a sensation. Orville Prescott of the New York Times wrote that “if enough such books are written, if enough millions of people read them maybe, someday, in the fullness of time, there will be a greater understanding and a more true democracy.” Opposing forces felt compelled to comment: addressing Congress, Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi argued that the purpose of this book “was to plant seeds of hate and devilment in the minds of every American.” From 1975 to 1978, Black Boy was banned in schools throughout the United States for “obscenity” and “instigating hatred between the races.” The once controversial, now classic American autobiography measures the brutality and rawness of the Jim Crow South against the sheer desperate will it took to survive. Richard Wright grew up in the woods of Mississippi, with poverty, hunger, fear, and hatred. He lied, stole, and raged at those about him; at six he was a “drunkard,” hanging about in taverns. Surly, brutal, cold, suspicious, and self-pitying, he was surrounded on one side by whites who were either indifferent to him, pitying, or cruel, and on the other by blacks who resented anyone trying to rise above the common lot. The second half of the book focuses on Wright’s move north to Chicago, and his experiences with the Communist Party (a section that was pulled from the book’s original publication). Black Boy is Richard Wright's compelling account of his journey. Deeply affecting and beautifully written, it is as timely today as when it was first published nearly seventy-five years ago.
An introduction to Richard Wright's novel Black Boy for high school students, which includes relevant biographical background on the author, explanations of various literary devices and techniques, and literary criticism for the novice reader --Provided by publisher.
Each volume in this series provides an introduction tracing the subject author's critical reputation, trends in interpretation, developments in textual and biographical scholarship, and reprints of selected essays and reviews, beginning with the author's contemporaries and continuing through to current scholarship. Many volumes also feature new essays by leading scholars and critics, specially commissioned for the series.