The Life and Times
The Life and Times
Drawing on journals, letters, and eyewitness accounts, Richard Wright probes the author’s relationships with Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison, his attraction to Communism, and his so-called exile in France. Skillfully interweaving quotes from Wright’s own writings, Rowley deftly portrays a passionate, courageous, and flawed man who would become one of our most enduring literary figures.
“Splendid. . . . Richard Wright is well written, prodigiously researched, and nicely paced, a compelling evocation of the man, his craft, and the different worlds through which he moved.”—Michael J. Ybarra, Wall Street Journal
“A welcome and illuminating work . . . [Rowley] does an outstanding job. . . . Rich and revealing.”—Megan Harlan, San Francisco Chronicle
“A magnificent biography, subtle and insightful. . . . Rowley writes with style and grace, and her research on Wright is prodigious.”—Howard Zinn, The Week
“Thorough and engrossing from the first page to the last”
Jame Lamar | Washington Post Book World
“In her excellent, entirely readable Richard Wright, Hazel Rowley accomplishes what [previous biographer] Michel Fabre would have liked to do with once-guarded letters, aging witnesses, previously unidentified girlfriends. . . . Mostly, Rowley concentrates on telling Wright’s very powerful story.”
Darryl Pinckney | New York Review of Books
“Splendid. . . . Richard Wright is well written, prodigiously researched, and nicely paced, a compelling evocation of the man, his craft, and the different worlds through which he moved.”
Michael J. Ybarra | Wall Street Journal
“A welcome and illuminating work . . . [Rowley] does an outstanding job. . . . Rich and revealing.”
Megan Harlan | San Francisco Chronicle
“A magnificent biography, subtle and insightful. . . . Rowley writes with style and grace, and her research on Wright is prodigious.”
Howard Zinn | The Week
"Rowley is an unobtrusive biographer who has written a well-balanced and thoroughly readable book. It now stands as the best account of Wright’s life."
Peter Byrne | Swan's Commentary
"For the first time, Wright’s complicated life and work are fully and justly illuminated."
"Tirelessly, imaginatively researched and elegantly written, [the book] examines this enigmatic native son with an exacting but also finely sympathetic eye. The result is a portrait of uncommon penetration and skill--surely one of the finest literary biographies to appear in many a year."
Arnold Rampersad, author of The Life of Langston Hughes
"A first-rate biography worthy of its towering, larger-than-life subject."
Gerald Early | Christian Science Monitor
"Of the books written on Wright to date, [this] new biography . . . is more informative, comprehensive and insightful than any of the earlier efforts. . . . A superb book from start to finish."
Robert Fleming | Book Page
"Rowley has produced the definitive Wright biography. . . . Rowley’s work is everything a literary biography should be: a rich, impeccably detailed rendering of the historical and biographical circumstances surrounding a writer’s work. Critics and teachers of Wright will find Rowley’s work indispensable. Through her careful research . . . Rowley offers readers new facets of Wright as a writer and person, demonstrating above all the heavy toll that Wright’s heroic, groundbreaking anti-racism took on his financial, political, aned psychological well-being."
Andrew Strombeck | Studies in American Naturalism
Table of Contents
2. The Whisperer of Liberty
3. The South Side of Chicago
4. Words as Weapons
5. Bastard Intellectual
6. Crossing the Divide
7. Change of Fortune
8. Grappling with Bigger
13. Ellen Poplowitz
14. The Weathercock Turns
15. Wartime Brooklyn
16. A Troublingly Delicate Matter
17. Daily Life
18. Preparing to Leave
19. Crossing the Atlantic
22. Existential Dread
23. Journey to the Gold Coast
24. From Bullfights to Lonely
25. The Lonley Outsiders
26. "I Am Nobody"
27. Stepping Off This Earth
A Note on the Primary Sources