Attracted to remote lands by his interest in the postcolonial struggle, Richard Wright (1908-1960) became one of the few African Americans of his time to engage in travel writing. He went to emerging nations not as a sightseer but as a student of their cultures, learning the politics and the processes of social transformation. When Wright fled from the United States in 1946 to live as an expatriate in Paris, he was exposed to intellectual thoughts and challenges that transcended his social and political education in America. Three events broadened his world view- his introduction to French existentialism, the rise of the Pan-Africanist movement to decolonize Africa, and Indonesia's declaration of independence from colonial rule in 1945. During the 1950s as he traveled to emerging nations his encounters produced four travel narratives-Black Power (1953), The Color Curtain (1956), Pagan Spain (1956), and White Man, Listen! (1957). Upon his death in 1960, he left behind an unfinished book on French West Africa, which exists only in notes, outlines, and a draft. Written by multinational scholars, this collection of essays exploring Wright's travel writings shows how in his hands the genre of travel writing resisted, adapted, or modified the forms and formats practiced by white authors. Enhanced by nine photographs taken by Wright during his travels, the essays focus on each of Wright's four separate narratives as well as upon his unfinished book and reveal how Wright drew on such non-Western influences as the African American slave narrative and Asian literature of protest and resistance. The essays critique Wright's representation of customs and people and employ a broad range of interpretive modes, including the theories of formalism, feminism, and postmodernism, among others. Wright's travel books are proved here to be innovative narratives that laid down the roots of such later genres as postcolonial literature, contemporary travel writing, and resistance literature. Virginia Whatley Smith is an associate professor of English at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Her work has appeared in African American Review, Mississippi Quarterly, and MLA Approaches to Teaching Wright's 'Native Son.'
Critics in this volume reassess the prescient nature of Richard Wright's mind as well as his life and body of writings, especially those directly concerned with America and its racial dynamics. This edited collection offers new readings and understandings of the particular America that became Wright's focus at the beginning of his career and was still prominent in his mind at the end. Virginia Whatley Smith's edited collection examines Wright's fixation with America at home and from abroad: his oppression by, rejection of, conflict with, revolts against, and flight from America. Other people have written on Wright's revolutionary heroes, his difficulties with the FBI, and his works as a postcolonial provocateur; but none have focused singly on his treatment of America. Wherever Wright traveled, he always positioned himself as an African American as he compared his experiences to those at hand. However, as his domestic settlements changed to international residences, Wright's craftsmanship changed as well. To convey his cultural message, Wright created characters, themes, and plots that would expose arbitrary and whimsical American policies, oppressive rules which would invariably ensnare Wright's protagonists and sink them more deeply into the quagmire of racial subjugation as they grasped for a fleeting moment of freedom. Smith's collection brings to the fore new ways of looking at Wright, particularly his post-Native Son international writings. Indeed, no critical interrogations have considered the full significance of Wright's masterful crime fictions. In addition, the author's haiku poetry complements the fictional pieces addressed here, reflecting Wright's attitude toward America as he, near the end of his life, searched for nirvana--his antidote to American racism.
Looks at Wright's formal and philosophical debt to Japanese art and architecture. Eight areas of influence are examined in detail, from Japanese prints to specific individuals and publications, and are illustrated with text and drawn analyses.
Interwoven in the essays are stories of champions and critics, rivals and acolytes, books and exhibitions, attitudes toward America and individualism, and the many ways Wright's ideas were brought to the world. Together the essays represent a first look at Wright's impact abroad, some from the perspective of natives of the countries discussed and others from that of informed outsiders."--BOOK JACKET.
A cultural icon who defined the twentieth-century American landscape, Frank Lloyd Wright has been studied from what seems to be every possible angle. While many books focus on his works, torrid personal life, or both, few solely consider his professional persona, as a man enmeshed in a web of prominent public figures and political ideas. In this new biography, Robert McCarter distills Wright’s life and work into a concise account that explores the beliefs and relationships so powerfully reflected in his architectural works. McCarter examines here how Wright aspired to influence America’s evolving democratic society by the challenges his buildings posed to traditional views of private and public space. He investigates Wright’s relationships with key leaders of art, industry, and society, and how their views came to have concrete significance in Wright’s work and writings. Wright argued that architecture should be the “background or framework” for daily life, not the “object,” and McCarter dissects how and why he aspired to this and other ideals, such as his belief in the ethical duty of architects to improve society and culture. A penetrating study of the foremost pioneer in modern architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright offers a fascinating biographical chronicle that reveals the principles and relationships at the base of Wright’s production.
The Robie House in Chicago is one of the world's most famous houses, a masterpiece from the end of Frank Lloyd Wright's early period and a classic example of the Prairie House. This book is intended as a companion for the visitor to the house, but it also probes beneath the surface to see how the design took shape in the mind of the architect. Wright's own writings, rare working drawings from the period, and previously unpublished photographs of the house in construction help the reader look over the shoulder of the architect at work. Beautiful new photographs of the Robie House and related Wright houses have been specially taken to illustrate the author's points, and a bibliography on Wright is provided.
Richard Wright is one of the most important African American writers. He is also one of the most prolific. Best known as the author of Native Son, he wrote 7 novels; 2 collections of short fiction; an autobiography; more than 250 newspaper articles, book reviews, and occasional essays; some 4,000 verses; a photo-documentary; and 3 travel books. By attacking the taboos and hypocrisy that other writers had failed to address, he revolutionized American literature and created a disturbing and realistic portrait of the African American experience. This encyclopedia is a guide to his vast and influential body of works.