Richard Wright and racial discourse
"The day Native Son appeared, American culture was changed forever", wrote Irving Howe in 1963. Few critics have disputed this statement, and most would agree that the impact of Richard Wright's writings on American culture comes not just from his technique and style, but also from the particular effect his ideas and attitudes have had on American life. In an effort to gauge the extent of Wright's influence, Yoshinobu Hakutani analyzes his work both as art and as a discourse on race. Taking into consideration the social and cultural milieu of Wright's time, Hakutani compares and contrasts Wright's works with those by other writers dealing with similar subjects. For examples, he discusses Native Son in comparison with Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson and in contrast with Dreiser's An American Tragedy. In a similar vein he weighs The Outsider, a controversial novel among critics, against Camus's The Stranger. And The Man Who Lived Underground is read as an existentialist work that contains elements of Zen philosophy. Hakutani also studies Wright's neglected works of nonfiction, examining how they place Wright's diverse racial, cultural, economic, and political ideas within the context of his American, African American, European, Pan-African, and Asian experiences. Whereas Wright is primarily concerned with European colonialism in Black Power, religion and Catholicism come under scrutiny in Pagan Spain, and The Color Curtain brings together all of these issues. Hakutani concludes his book with a chapter on Wright's poetics, determining that Wright followed Japanese aesthetics, and that the best of his four thousand haiku marvelously reflect the spirit of nature and, occasionally, Zen.
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American Racial Issues
Cultural and Racial Discourse
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action African American African culture American Hunger American Tragedy Asian Baldwin Basho Big Boy Big Boy Leaves Bigger Thomas Black Boy Black Power Black Song black women Boy Leaves Home bull bullfight Camus's character Clyde Clyde Griffiths Color Curtain Communist contrast create crime critics Cross Damon Daniels Dave death Dreiser earlier economic emotional environment existential existentialist experience expression feeling fiction Fishbelly Fishbelly's freedom haiku hero human individual Jake James Baldwin Japanese killing Lawd Today Lived Underground Long Dream man's manhood Max's Meursault mind miscegenation mother murder narrative Native naturalistic nature Negro Nkrumah novel novelist Outsider Pagan Spain philosophy poet political portrays protagonist Pudd'nhead Wilson race racial discourse racial oppression racism reader Reilly relationship religion Richard Wright says scene sexual social society South Spain Spanish story suggests Theodore Dreiser tradition Twain Tyree Uncle Tom's Children victim vision Western white woman writing young Wright
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Harlem Crossroads: Black Writers and the Photograph in the Twentieth Century
Limited preview - 2007