Richard Wright (1908-1960)

A selective list of online literary criticism for African American novelist, short story writer, political essayist, and poet Richard Wright, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources


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introduction & biography

"Richard Wright." Excerpts from major literary criticism on Richard Wright, includes a biography and commentary on Native Son, by Ann Rayson, a short article on Wright's poetry, and background articles on the Great Depression. Modern American Poetry, Univ. of Illinois, ed. Bill Mullen.

Hungerford, Amy. "Lecture 1 - Major Themes, and Richard Wright's Black Boy. Video lecture from Yale University professor on how to read and Wright's Black Boy. Yale Open Courses, ENGL 291, "The American Novel Since 1945." "Lecture 2 - Richard Wright, Black Boy (cont)."

Reilly, John M. "Richard Wright." Prof. Reilly's brief introduction to Wright's themes. From the college textbook publisher Gale/Cengage.

Duffus, Matthew. "Richard Wright." A short biography of Wright by Prof. Duffus for The Mississippi Writers Page Includes a list of books by Richard Wright, recommended reading, and information about Wright's manuscripts and papers.

"The Island affair." Covers the later years of Richard Wright's career, in Paris, and his unpublished last novel about African Americans in Paris, Island of Hallucination. The Guardian 6 Jan. 2006.

Rowley, Hazel. "The 'Exile' Years? How the '50s Culture Wars Destroyed Richard Wright." Bookforum, Dec/Jan 2006.

Fowler, Gregory W. "Richard Wright." A substantial introduction to Wright, from the Literary Encyclopedia, 03 March 2005 [subscription service].

Richard Wright's 169 page FBI file, provided under the Freedom of Information Act. Wright was investigated by the FBI for being a member of the communist party between 1932-1942. He left the party in 1942 because of ideological disputes.


literary criticism

Briones, Matthew M. "Call-and-response: tracing the ideological shifts of Richard Wright through his correspondence with friends and fellow literati." African American Review 37, 1 (Spring 2003) [preview only, blurred].

Butler, Robert. "Farrell's ethnic neighborhood and Wright's urban ghetto: two visions of Chicago's South Side" [and James T. Farrell, Irish-American Literature]. Studs Lonigan is compared to Native Son to show contrasting views of the South Side of Chicago, IL. MELUS 18, 1 (Spring 1993) [first page of article only].

Costello, Brannon. "Richard Wright's Lawd Today! And the political uses of modernism." African American Review 37, 1 (Spring 2003) [subscription service].

Cappetti, Carla. "Black Orpheus: Richard Wright's 'The Man Who Lived Underground.'" MELUS 26, 4 (Winter 2001) [first page of article only].

DeCoste, Damon Marcel. "To blot it all out: the politics of realism in Richard Wright's Native Son. Style 32, 1 (Spring 1998).

Demirturk, Lale. "Mapping the Terrain of Whiteness: Richard Wright's Savage Holiday." MELUS 24, 1 (Spring 1999) [first page of article only].

Demirturk, Lale "The making and unmaking of whiteness: Richard Wright's Rite of Passage." MELUS 26, 2, (Summer 2001) [first page of article only].

Eby, C. "Slouching toward Beastliness: Richard Wright's Anatomy of Thomas Dixon" [response to white segregationist novelist Thomas Dixon]. African American Review 35, 1 (Fall 2001) pp 439-58 [preview only, blurred].

George, Stephen K. "The horror of Bigger Thomas: the perception of form without face in Richard Wright's Native Son." African American Review 31, 3 (Autumn 1997) pp 497-504 [subscription service].

Hadman, Ty. "Richard Wright." An engaging essay about Richard Wright's haiku, by poet Hadman.

Hakutani, Yoshinobu. "Richard Wright's The Long Dream as racial and sexual discourse" [Wright's 1958 novel]. African American Review 30, 2 (Summer 1996).

Jurca, Catherine. Sample chapter from White Diaspora: The Suburb and the Twentieth-Century American Novel. Jurca examines Native Son in the context of her study of the white suburban novel, contending that "Native Son brilliantly dramatized the relation of white flight and freedom to black homelessness and incarceration within the city."

Lynch, Michael F. "Haunted by innocence: the debate with Dostoevsky in Wright's 'other novel,' The Outsider." African American Review 30, 2 (Summer 1996) [subscription service].

Miller, Eugene E. "Richard Wright, community, and the French connection." Twentieth Century Literature 41, 3 (Autumn 1995) pp 265-80 [preview only, blurred].

Peterson, Dale. "Richard Wright's long journey from Gorky to Dostoevsky" [and Maxim Gorky, Fyodor Dostoevsky]. African American Review28, 3 (Fall 1994) [sub ser].

Reilly, John M., ed. "Richard Wright." A brief teacher's guide to Richard Wright, from educational publisher Heath (Cengage).

Schultz, Elizabeth. "The Power of Blackness: Richard Wright Re-Writes Moby-Dick." On the influence of Melville's Moby-Dick on Richard Wright in his writing of Native Son. African American Review, 1999 [first page only, blurred].


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