Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-pgkvd Total loading time: 0.472 Render date: 2022-08-07T15:56:49.355Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Chapter 8 - He Tried to Be a Communist

Wright and the Black Literary Left

from Part II - Social and Cultural Contexts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2021

Michael Nowlin
Affiliation:
University of Victoria, British Columbia
Get access

Summary

Richard Wright’s was truly a life defined by struggle, and by his death at age fifty-two in 1962, he had acquired a massive amount of political baggage that was bursting with a contradictory array of statements and actions. Among other things, Wright stands alone among African American authors of fiction, poetry, and drama in his providing a detailed, autobiographical memoir of life in the Communist Party (CP-USA), which lasted about ten years. Moreover, Wright scholars have long been aware that there was always something elliptical if not cryptic about the articulation of Wright’s political views in the years after his departure from that movement and the United States.   This essay begins by demonstrating that much of the present-day confusion regarding Wright’s brand of Marxist politics toward the mid-1940s and after can be traced back to interpretations of what he resolved when he wrote the memoir “I Tried to Be a Communist.” It concludes by querying the extent to which his political evolution was representative--or uncharacteristic--of the experience of the dozens of African American imaginative writers with CP-USA affiliations, every last one of whom drew back from the organization at some point.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×