Friday, April 15, 2011

Richard Wright

As I absentmindedly reminded H over the course of several obnoxious emails, I'm researching Richard Wright (1908-1960), America's black Dostoevsky. It's quite fun. I love his work (so grim). For my idea to be anything other than crap, I need to place him in the context of Naturalism, the modernist movement that unflinchingly described bowel movements and root canals with oddly-inspired enthusiasm. The appeal for me then is obvious. The language is superb. Research is amusing too.

Here's a nice bit from Malcolm Cowley: "In their effort to achieve bigness at any cost, the Naturalists were likely to undertake projects that went beyond their physical or imaginative powers, or in which they discovered too late that they weren't
really interested."

More Cowley: "Jack London wrote fifty books in seventeen years. "I have no unfinished stories," London told an interviewer five years before his death. "Invariably I complete everyone I start. If it's good, I sign it and send it out. If it isn't good, I sign it and send it out.""

Wright himself was heavily edited. The work as he intended didn't come out until decades later or long after his death.

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