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Richard Wright Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Native Son (1940)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Outsider (1953)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Savage Holiday (1954)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Long Dream (1958)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lawd Today! (1963)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Man Who Lived Underground (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Rite of Passage (1993)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Uncle Tom's Children (1938)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
12 Million Black Voices (1941)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Eight Men (1958)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Haiku (1998)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Black Boy (1945)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Anthologies

American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, Volume 2: E.E. Cummings to May Swenson(2000)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Unnatural Selection of Darwinian Nightmares(2000)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Richard Wright was a renowned American writer of novels, poems, nonfiction, and short stories. He has penned a number of notable works in his career, including Native Son, The Outsider, Uncle Tom’s Children, Black Boy, and others. Most of Wright’s literature was based on racial themes and especially revolved around the plight of Afro-Americans towards the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Wright showed in his books how the African-Americans suffered violence and discrimination in the North and the South. Many literary critics believe that Wright’s work helped to change race relations in America during the mid-20th century. Wright is regarded as one of the prominent names in the literature of the United States. He gained prominence with his 1940 novel called Native Son, which became an instant hit and a bestseller as soon as its release by Harper and Brothers. The novel also helped America’s cause as it entered the Second World War.

With Native Son’s release, Wright became the richest writer of the African-American origin in the country. And with the release of his later novels, he went on to influence the work and life of the Civil Rights movement’s thinkers, fiction writers, anti-colonial figures, and other figures from around the world. Author Wright was born as Richard Nathaniel Wright on September 04, 1908, near Natchez and Roxie, Mississippi. He has described in his autobiography titled Black Boy that he was brought up in a very tumultuous environment. Wright is highly associated with New York and Chicago, however, he didn’t arrive in the north until 927. First, he resided in Chicago for 10 years and then in 1937, relocated to New York. Wright then remained in America for another 10 years or so before taking the decision of moving to Europe due to the extreme racism he faced in his country. Following a short trip to France in the year 1946, Wright moved to Paris permanently along with his wife and 2 daughters. After this, he did not return to the US even for once.

Even though Wright decided not to move back to his country that he left shortly after World War II came to an end, he undertook extensive traveling to various places around the world. Wright has documented his visits to numerous places in Asia, Africa, and Europe. And in due course of time, he shifted his writing from fiction to non-fiction political essays. Wright collaborated with a noteworthy Francophone thinker and writer named Aime Cesaire in the late 40s. To attend the Bandung Conference, he visited Bandung in Indonesia. Wright recorded the observations related to the concerns of human rights and later described the conference as an important event. During the late 30s, Wright became a member of the Communist Party right after his relocation to Chicago. But, he took back his membership in 1942 due to some personal reasons. In Native Son, Wright has depicted the relationship between communism and racial justice through Boris Max’s character.

The works of author Wright are included among the most translated fiction works of African American. His readership is spread in countries like Germany, France, Russia, Spain, China, Japan, India, etc. During the time Wright was residing in Paris, Pierre Chenal adapted Native Son for the big screen. The film was made in Argentinian and did not do good business. The highlight of this movie was that forty-year-old Wright played the role of the younger version of Bigger Thomas. There are more than one movie adaptations of Native Son available. Also, there were several other media renditions, including a stage play adapted by Orson Welles and some portions read by James Earl Jones for 1973’s Caedmon spoken-word record. Wright’s first marriage was with a Jewish lady named Dhimah Rose in 1939. It did not last long and ended after one year. Then, Wright married for the second time with Ellen Poplar in 1941. The couple had two daughters named Julia and Rachel.

Author Wright died on November 28, 1960, in Paris due to a heart attack. His daughter Julia had claimed that he was murdered. After his death, his widow Ellen remained the executor of his estate until her death in 2004. Some of Wright’s Papers are currently held at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The anti-colonial and Civil Rights personalities influenced by Wright’s work include James Baldwin, Aime Cesaire, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Frantz Fanon.

A highly popular novel penned by author Richard Wright is entitled ‘Native Son’. It was first released in 1940 and was re-released by Harper Perennial in 2005. This novel tells the tale of a young black man named Bigger Thomas, who faces downfall in his life after he accidentally kills a white lady in a panic moment. Bigger Thomas finds himself on the wrong side of the judicial system because of being a black man. He becomes a victim of racism and hatred from the white-dominated society. Right from the beginning, Bigger Thomas was headed in the direction of the jail. He always had the danger of being charged for petty larceny or assault because of his actions. But, he ends up being held for rape and murder. This novel takes place in Chicago during the 1930s. It captures the relentless reflection on the feeling of hopelessness and poverty experienced by the lower-class people of the society across America. The novel also describes what it meant to belong to the black race in America in that period of history.

Another powerful novel that Wright wrote in his writing career is known as ‘The Outsider’. It was initially released in 1953. In this book, Wright has a complex narrative of how ugly and raw was racism in the United States. Wright has named the central character of this book as Cross Damon. He represents a Negro man of the 20th century in the pursuit of freedom. Cross Damon is an intellectual man, but because of the culture around him, he faces rejection. He is introduced as having an addiction to drinking. His drinking habit is partly due to his effort to not remember his many problems and partly due to numb the pain caused by his frustrated and urgent sense of life. Cross gets involved in an accident and is reported to have succumbed to his injuries. When he learns about the false information about his death, Cross decides to create a new identity for himself and hopes to discover the truth. His search forces him to carry out 4 murders and finally brings his own life to a violent death. Before dying, Cross rejects religion and abandons ideas. When his mistress sees him as the man he has become, she commits suicide. In the end, when the district attorney asks Cross Damon on his death how was his life, he murmurs that it was too horrible and dies.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Richard Wright

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