Richard Nathaniel Wright (September 4, 1908 - November 28, 1960)
was an African-American author of powerful, sometimes controversial
novels, short stories and non-fiction. Much of his literature
concerned racial themes.
Wright's books published during the 1950s disappointed some
critics, who said that his move to Europe alienated him from
American blacks then separated him from his emotional and
psychological roots. Many of Wright trade;s works failed to satisfy
the rigid standards of the New Criticism. During the 1950s Wright
grew more internationalists in outlook. While he accomplished much
as an important public literary and political figure with a
worldwide reputation, his very creative work did decline.
However, recent critics have called for a reassessment of
Wright's later work in view of his philosophical project. Notably,
Paul Gilroy has argued that the depth of his philosophical
interests has been either overlooked or misconceived by the almost
exclusively literary enquiries that have dominated analysis of his
writing. His most significant contribution, however, was his desire
to accurately portray blacks to white readers, thereby destroying
the white myth of the patient, humorous, subservient black man.