The “Nature” of Politics, The “Politics” of Nature
Richard Wright is an African American writer traditionally read within the American (and Western) literary realist framework. There is, though, a growing body of scholarship around his later haiku nature writing. Within this scholarship, scholars have theorized the ways in which his political thinking influenced his adaptation of the Japanese haiku form. Little of the scholarship, traditional or burgeoning, has focused on the ways in which the “nature thinking” present in his later haiku was already present throughout his early, middle, and late writing. But, what is more, little of the scholarship focuses on the ways in which his nature thinking was formative to the development of his “literary realism.” This chapter by James B. Haile III not only demonstrates the linkage between “nature thinking” and politics in his prose but also argues that Wright himself both participated in and was formative to the development of black nature writing in the United States.
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