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The Politics of Richard WrightPerspectives on Resistance$
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Jane Anna Gordon and Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813175164

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813175164.001.0001

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Richard Wright and the Critique of Class Theory

Richard Wright and the Critique of Class Theory

Chapter:
(p.45) 3 Richard Wright and the Critique of Class Theory
Source:
The Politics of Richard Wright
Author(s):

Cedric J. Robinson

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813175164.003.0004

Cedric J. Robinson’s previously published essay discusses how Wright’s art expresses both the terrors and the possibilities of modern times. According to Robinson, Wright’s choices of literary forms enabled him to explore the complexities and subtleties of radical politics more authentically than conventional history, biography, or political-tract writing would allow. Through novels, Wright brought living consciousness into direct confrontation with social theory and ideology. Believing that Marxist ideology paternalistically remained for rather than of the (especially black) proletariat, Wright wanted to draw on existing folklore to express blacks’ deep and complex consciousness. Robinson argues that for the Communist Party USA to make good on its promise to serve as the greatest guarantee against fascism, it had to come more fully to terms with the appeal of fascism among the working class. Wright’s art tried to make sense of that troubling phenomenon.

Keywords:   Richard Wright, radical politics, Marxist ideology, black consciousness, Communist Party USA, working class

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