Richard Wright: The Life and Times
Consistently an outsider—a child of the fundamentalist South with an eighth-grade education, a self-taught intellectual, a black man married to a white woman—Richard Wright nonetheless became the unparalleled voice of his time. The first full-scale biography of the author best known for his searing novels Black Boy and Native Son, Richard Wright: The Life and Times brings the man and his work—in all their complexity and distinction—to vibrant life. Acclaimed biographer Hazel Rowley chronicles Wright’s unprecedented journey from a sharecropper’s shack in Mississippi to Chicago’s South Side to international renown as a writer and outspoken critic of racism.
Drawing on journals, letters, and eyewitness accounts, Richard Wright probes the author’s relationships with Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison, his attraction to Communism, and his so-called exile in France. Skillfully interweaving quotes from Wright’s own writings, Rowley deftly portrays a passionate, courageous, and flawed man who would become one of our most enduring literary figures.
“Splendid. . . . Richard Wright is well written, prodigiously researched, and nicely paced, a compelling evocation of the man, his craft, and the different worlds through which he moved.”—Michael J. Ybarra, Wall Street Journal
“A welcome and illuminating work . . . [Rowley] does an outstanding job. . . . Rich and revealing.”—Megan Harlan, San Francisco Chronicle
“A magnificent biography, subtle and insightful. . . . Rowley writes with style and grace, and her research on Wright is prodigious.”—Howard Zinn, The Week
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Richard Wright: the life and timesUser Review - Book Verdict
Richard Wright's story is already well known: a young black man, who grew up on a poor sharecropper's farm in Mississippi amid the terrifying violence of the segregationist South, goes to Chicago, where he fashions for himself a celebrated writer's life with the publication of Native Son. To retell this familiar story already told better by Wright himself in Black Boy and by Michel Fabre in his standard The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright (LJ 4/15/73) Rowley (Christina Stead: A Biography) weaves an inordinate number of passages from Wright's work into an uninspired biographical pastiche. From these earlier works, we know that Wright struggled with his own writing life, his interracial marriage, his homosexual tendencies, and the unmitigated racism he found in the North after World War II. Although Rowley provides a bit more insight into Wright's relationship with Ralph Ellison than previous biographers, she is strangely silent on his contentious relationship with James Baldwin. Rowley writes in workmanlike prose and lacks any deep critical acumen. Finally, she focuses so much on defending Wright from his critics that the book is more hagiography than biography. Not recommended. Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Lancaster, PA ...
Review: Richard Wright: The Life and TimesUser Review - Goodreads
Truly spectacular biography.
The whisper of liberty
The south side of chicago
Words as weapons
Crossing the divide
Change of fortune
Grappling with bigger
PREPARING TO LEAVE
CROSSING THE ATLANTIC
JOURNEY TO THE GOLD COAST
FROM BULL FIGHTS TO BANDUNG
THE LONELY OUTSIDERS
The drama of native son
The weathercock turns
A TROUBLINGLY DELICATE MATTER