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Sort ungdom (1945)

af Richard Wright

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I read this to go along with a free online course (The American Novel since 1945). With that in mind, I guess the most immediate question I had was "What does an autobiography have to do with novels?" Well, it turns out that Wright wrote dramatic scenes with sharply written dialogue. While events do follow his own life, he apparently used incidents that happened to people he knew as readily as he used those that happened to himself. We can see from the end of the book, when he was involved with the Communist Party, that he was growing more concerned with expressing the feeling of being a black southerner. The first half of Black Boy succeeded in that.

The second part was quite different. Based on other books I have read, I thought his view of the North was a bit idealistic. Maybe the silly and grating inter-politics of the Communist Party's artist clubs made a more poignant and less-expected comparison to the racism and religion that kept him down in the South and became the focus for that reason. ( )
  bannedforaday | Oct 22, 2023 |
I think this book will sit with me forever. Wright has such intuitive self-awareness. He brings you right down to the raw experience of his life and doesn’t spare himself or others. He is unflinchingly honest.
  Deni_Weeks | Sep 16, 2023 |
Richard Wright earned his political extremism. It is no wonder that, after leaving the violence and racial kabuki theater of Jim Crow South, he finds the comfort in the supposedly egalitarian arms of the communist party in Chicago. Wright would eventually disavow the party for its unthinking dogma, its distrust of intellectuals, and its suppression of factions and disagreement.

These issues are also explored in Wright's great work of fiction, Native Son. There is something uncomfortable about Wright's prose, not just for its exposure of shocking racial injustice that is one of the great ironies of the American experience. You also get the sense that Wright is a man who will never truly find his place in society, and that this is the curse of the true intellectual. It is no wonder that Wright was drawn to French existentialist writers Camus and Sartre, and that he tried to write his own existentialist work titled The Outsider. The thinking man grows to understand his isolation from others, and that any union or community is illusory, built on a foundation of lies and self-deception. ( )
  jonbrammer | Jul 1, 2023 |
Moving account of growing up under Jim Crow and being unable and unwilling to buckle under. Two things particularly struck me: (1) Southern whites would take offense at Wright without him doing anything overt, merely because he carried himself with a dignity they could sense, and hate; (2) Wright could not get books critiquing social issues out of the library without forging a white person's request for him to pick them up. He's says he'd rather be a feudal peasant than black in that place and time. You really get a feeling of race as indelible caste here: the elemental Jim Crow crime was to think you had equal human status with whites. ( )
  fji65hj7 | May 14, 2023 |
28. Black Boy by Richard Wright
contributors: Foreword by John Edgar Wideman, Afterward by Malcolm Wright, “A Tribute to my Father” by Julia Wright (all for this edition, 2020), and extracts from a 1993 introduction by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
OPD: 1945
format: Harper Perennial Modern Classics 75th-anniversary edition paperback with restored text.
acquired: November read: Apr 16-30 time reading: 15:13, 2.0 mpp
rating: 5
genre/style: Classic autobiography theme: Richard Wright
locations: Jackson, MS, Memphis, TN, Arkansas & Chicago.
about the author: American author born on a Mississippi plantation, 1908-1960

This is a special book. An eye-witness account of the 1920's Jim Crowe south from black perspective, and by a really talented writer. Wright's mind was built for this and the life story comes across so crystalline. He has this way of making himself a regular person in the deranged world. It‘s dystopian, and nonfictional. Add in his poverty, and constant hunger. His family sometimes simply didn't have food. His response, his strength, but also his tone towards those around him - expressing that shock of “What are these people thinking?!…Is this real?” - is incredibly powerful. It‘s simply an amazing window into that reality, our history.

The book was originally written in two parts, but only part one was published in 1945, titled Black Boy. This was Wright's account of growing up in the Jim Crowe South early in the 20th-century, Civil Rights nowhere in sight. It's a sparkling account and unrivaled classic. The second part, later published posthumously in 1977 as [American Hunger], covers Wright's experiences in Chicago during the Great Depression, struggling to get by, and hungry enough he was unable to pass a post office weight requirement. It focuses heavily on his relationship and experiences with the Chicago Communist community, which was also his link to a white intellectual community, including artists of prominence. This part, to me, is a curiosity, but lacks the raw power of [Black Boy].

It's certainly interesting that the Communist element was edited out of the book in 1945 and not published until after Wright died, but there is no question the better part was the part published. One interesting aspect is that the reconstructed book ends softly. However, when he agreed to only publish part one, he added a conclusion that is really quite beautiful and powerful, although relegated to a footnote in this reconstructed original text edition. The 1945 edition of [Black Boy] ends on a hopeful note, with Wright looking towards his life in the North. It doesn't address the drudgery of the life. He closes:

"Yet, deep down, I knew that I could never really leave the South, for my feelings had already been formed by the South, for there had been slowly instilled into my personality and consciousness, black though I was, the culture of the South. So, in leaving, I was taking a part of the South to transplant in alien soil, to see if it could grow differently, if it could drink of new and cool rains, bend in strange winds, respond to the warmth of other suns, and, perhaps, to bloom...And if that miracle ever happened, then I would know that there was yet hope in that southern swamp of despair and violence, that light could emerge even out of the blackest of the southern night. I would know that the South too could overcome its fear, its hate, its cowardice, its heritage of guilt and blood, its burden of anxiety and compulsive cruelty."

https://www.librarything.com/topic/348551#8135965 ( )
  dchaikin | May 6, 2023 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (110 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Wright, Richardprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Fisher, Dorothy CanfieldIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Fonzi, BrunoOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Jones, Edward P.Forordmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Reilly, JohnEfterskriftmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Ward, Jerry W., Jr.Introduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Wright, JuliaBidragydermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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