Congrats are due to one of our Afro-Librarians!!!! Dr James B Haile’s Philosophical Mediations on Richard Wright will soon be available in paperback!
The text has been described as “thought-provoking” and “elegant” and esteemed as a compilation of of essays that are integral to the analysis of Wright’s body of work. Haile is not only re-imagining the canon but is creating a new methodology for examining Afro-American literature. It’s no surprise that, in addition to being used in universities around the country, this text is also read by readers varying from scholars to afro-literature lovers and hobbyists.
I recently read through this compilation and was inspired to re-read Wright’s work in its entirety. So if you are also interested in digging deeper and gaining a unique perspective on classic Afro-American and American literature, purchase your copy here:
How does one gain access to one’s own life, to think about or even write about one’s own experiences? How does one find the language to articulate the being of his/her experiences? Can language capture the being or content of our experiences? Or, does it, in some way, only hope to capture merely our own perspective.
– Excerpt From “Black Boy: Phenomenology and the Existential Novel” by James B Haile
Kaffir Boy – My never-ending search for auto-ethnographic texts (stay tuned for a post on this in the future), led me to this classic. Inspired by Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Kaffir Boy is an autobiographical narrative that explores Mark Mathabane’s childhood during South Africa’s apartheid. Introspective and analytical, this novel is simply captivating.
Philosophical Meditations on Richard Wright – Written by one of the authors of this blog *winks and looks over at him*, this text explores Richard Wright from a philosophical, psychological, and sociological perspective. Although this book is written for academics, I found it to be very engaging and even paradigm shifting in terms of perspective on Wright’s work.
In the introduction of the 2012 publication of Richard Wright’s posthumous book, Haiku: The Last Poetry of Richard Wright (Arcade Publishing), Wright’s daughter, Julia, referred to the following as his literary enigma: “how the creator of the inarticulate, frightened, and enraged Bigger Thomas ended up leaving us some of the most tender, unassuming, and gentle lines in African-American poetry.” Wright left some four thousand haiku (only a few hundred published), and the question has been left unanswered: what, if any, is the relationship between his haiku poems and his social/political prose and non-fiction?
I have always been drawn to Wright’s interest in nature, in the mysteries of nature, and how this interest influenced and informed the social and political (perhaps protest) work for which he has become strictly known and infamous. What if we rethought the relation of politics to nature, “realism” to “surrealism” such that these haiku are no longer understood as a side-interest, or the ramblings of a sick man at the end of his life, but as evocative of the meaning of human existence, black existence?
Link to purchase: