Stage Adaptation of Richard Wright's NATIVE SON …
To divest himself of Wright's influence, Baldwin wrote a series of three essayscriticizing Wright's use of naturalism and protest fiction. In "Everybody's ProtestNovel," published in in 1949, Baldwin concludes, "Thefailure of the protest novel lies in its rejection of life, the human being, the denial ofhis beauty, dread, power, in its insistence that it is his categorization alone which isreal and which cannot be transcended." On the other hand, Wright has been creditedwith presaging the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s, particularly in his protest poetry,much of which was published in Chicago in the 1930s. As Irving Howe said in his 1963 essay"Black Boys and Native Sons," "The day appeared, Americanculture was changed forever. No matter how much qualifying the book might later need, itmade impossible a repetition of the old lies . . . [and] brought out into theopen, as no one ever had before, the hatred, fear, and violence that have crippled and mayyet destroy our culture."
Richard Wright Book ‘Native Son’ Getting Movie – Variety
During 1940-1941 Wright collaborated with Paul Green to write a stage adaptation of . It ran on Broadway in the spring of 1941 and was produced by John Houseman andstaged by Orson Welles. Simultaneously, Wright published his sociological-psychologicaltreatise (1941), with photographs collected by Edwin Rosskam; the book was well received. Hisautobiography, , came out in 1945, again a bestseller andBook-of-the-Month Club selection, although the U.S. Senate denounced as"obscene." The later section about his life in Chicago and experience with theCommunist party was not published until 1977 under the title .Wright's publishers in 1945 had only wanted the story of his life in the South and cutwhat followed about his life in the North. There have been numerous biographies of Wright,but all must begin with , Wright's personal and emotional account of hischildhood and adolescence in the Jim Crow South. In a famous passage in the autobiographythat has bothered critics and set Wright apart from the African-American sense ofcommunity, he asserts the "cultural barrenness of black life": ". . . I used to mull over the strange absence of real kindness in Negroes, howunstable was our tenderness, how lacking in genuine passion we were, how void of greathope, how timid our joy, how bare our traditions, how hollow our memories, how lacking wewere in those intangible sentiments that bind man to man, and how shallow was even ourdespair." He found an "unconscious irony" in the idea that "Negroesled so passional an existence": "I saw that what had been taken for ouremotional strength was our negative confusions, our flights, our fears, our frenzy underpressure." Statements like these are contradicted by others that describe a caringcommunity. For example, when Wright's mother suffers a paralytic stroke, "theneighbors nursed my mother day and night, fed us and washed our clothes," and Wrightadmits to being "ashamed that so often in my life I had to be fed by strangers."
The last work Wright submitted for publication during his lifetime, ,a novel, was released in 1958. Here he portrays his strongest black father, Tyree Tucker,and treats the black middle class in the setting of Clintonville, Mississippi. This wasthe first novel in a planned trilogy about Tyree Tucker and his son Fishbelly. Wright didfinish the second novel, "Island of Hallucinations," about Fishbelly's escape toParis, but it was not published. , taking place in the long-goneSouth of the 1940s, seemed out of date to readers; critics faulted Wright for being awayfrom the source of his material for too long, and magazine criticized him for"living amid the alien corn." Subsequent critics, however, have regarded hislate fiction more seriously. In 1959 Wright's was staged in Paris incollaboration with Louis Sapin, and a 1960 Broadway stage version of ,produced by Ketti Frings, was unsuccessful.