Voice of a Native Son: The Poetics of Richard Wright

Voice of a Native Son: The Poetics of Richard Wright

Voice of a Native Son: The Poetics of Richard Wright

Voice of a Native Son: The Poetics of Richard Wright

Synopsis

Wright's works most often have been judged by his own ideological polemics, seldom by the terms of art. This, however, is a study of Wright's poetics, rich in a black aesthetic force that was the elemental voice in his writings.

Excerpt

In the Western world, from Plato to the present, distance from reality has been seen as an inherent, problematic characteristic of art. Artists, in their attempts to justify art, have dealt with this distance between art and reality in two basic ways. Afro-American culture has evolved in the midst of these aesthetic attitudes: the older states the classical notion of art as artifice and the validity of artifice because it reflects human involvement with an ultraphysical reality, and the newer stubbornly attempts to create an actual world in its own image. Afro-American sympathies have been decidedly with the latter. The well-articulated mystique of Afro-American music, for example, has long proclaimed an identity between the jazz musician and his instrument and between the musician and what he produces by means of that instrument. Something similar is attributed also to the Afro-American who can and does dance, or who can and does excel in a sport: they are so very good at these because they are what they do (which is not saying that all black people are naturally singers, dancers, or athletes). And in Afro-American literature since the Civil War, the development has been in the direction of a form or forms that deal as directly as possible with black American life-- physical, emotional, psychological--as it actually is, to put on paper the very consciousness of black Americans.

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