The Richard Wright Encyclopedia

The Richard Wright Encyclopedia

The Richard Wright Encyclopedia

The Richard Wright Encyclopedia

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

Richard Wright (1908–1960) is considered among the most important figures of twentiethcentury American fiction. Because of his courage and insistence in attacking taboos and hypocrisy that previous writers had rarely dared to address, he revolutionized American and African American literature. He created bold and true images of black American experiences, which continue to inspire and disturb readers. Wright’s published works include seven novels; one collection of essays; two collections of short fiction; an autobiography; the dramatized versions of Native Son; more than 250 newspaper articles, book reviews, and occasional essays; 817 haiku verses (out of a total of nearly 4,000 he wrote); a photo-documentary; and three travel books.

The Richard Wright Encyclopedia is designed to provide users, whether they are specialized scholars, students, or general readers, with a new way to gain comprehensive information about Wright’s extraordinary life and works as well as the momentous times in which he lived. Arranged in alphabetic order, the 370 entries include these types: biographical entries, which profile the significant people who influenced Wright or who were influenced by him; place entries, which describe the many towns, cities, and countries in which Wright lived or visited; contextual matter entries, which document and analyze the historical and cultural background of Wright’s life; and works entries, which contain information on Wright’s important published novels, stories, poems, and essays as well as descriptions of his most significant unpublished writings. Works by other writers relevant to Wright are also profiled. Most entries close with a ‘‘Selected Bibliography.’’ While most entry bibliographies include a variety of resources, a number of them cite Michel Fabre’s significant books on Wright, especially his 1973 biography, The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright and Hazel Rowley’s 2001 biography, Richard Wright: the Man and His Times. Without ignoring the importance of other secondary sources, Wright scholars are indebted to the works by Fabre and Rowley for the quantity of factual information that they make available. the book concludes with a full and updated bibliography of 151 primary and secondary sources.

This encyclopedia makes available to readers, as no previous book has done, a comprehensive, detailed and easily accessible compendium of essential information about Wright’s artistic achievement and the rich cultural and political environments out of which it grew. We . . .

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