Philosophical Meditations on Richard Wright

Philosophical Meditations on Richard Wright

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Philosophical Meditations on Richard Wright is an edited collection that brings together philosophers, literary theorists, and theologians on the intersection of Richard Wright's corpus-novels, critical essays, travel writings, and poetry-and philosophical method. This collection is a unique contribution to the academic discipline of philosophy as the first sustained philosophical engagement of an African American literary figure. Utilizing various philosophical methods-existentialism, phenomenology, and hermeneutics-this collection provides new perspectives on Wright's work as well as on the discipline of philosophy, engaging emergent theories of black existentialism, rethinking ontology and facticity and the meaning of race and the phenomena blackness in the United States, in the West, and the world at large.
Moreover, this collection allows us to realign Wright's work and challenges us to rethink our contemporary situation and issues, by tracing in his work the historical trajectory and many significant moments in the modernization of the world: the legacies of segregation in South and the anonymity and alienation of the urban North in the United States, the politicization of nationality and race in Europe, and the paradoxical relationship between the West in general, and in particular, black Americans to the continent of Africa and the African Diaspora.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 168 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 430.91g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739144944
  • 9780739144947

Table of contents

Introduction: Richard Wright and Philosophy James B. Haile, III Part I. Richard Wright's Literary Imagination Chapter 1: Bigger-Cross Damon: Wright's Existential Challenge Lewis R. Gordon Chapter 2: Black Boy: Phenomenology and the Existential Novel James B. Haile, III Chapter 3: Experiencing Existentialism through Theme and Tone: Kierkegaard and Richard Wright Desiree H. Melton Part II. Richard Wright's Philosophical Imagination Chapter 4: Fear, Trembling and Transcendence in the Everyday of Richard Wright: A Quare Reading Victor Anderson Chapter 5: Specularity as a Mode of Knowledge and Agency in Richard Wright's Work Abdul R. Janmohamed Part III. Richard Wright Today Chapter 6: "The Uses and Hazards of Expatriation": Richard Wright's Cosmopolitanism in Process Alexa Weik Chapter 7: On Richard Wright and Our Contemporary Situation Jerry W. Ward
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Review quote

In recent years, there has been a renewal of scholarly interest in Richard Wright. Wright was a vociferous reader of Western philosophy, which he revised and often incorporated in his works. Philosophical Meditations on Richard Wright is a distinctive collection of essays that engages, interrogates, and illuminates the philosophical meanings and implications of Wright's fiction and nonfiction. Thought-provoking and eloquent, this volume makes a vital contribution to Wright studies. Both philosophers and readers of philosophy will find these critically important essays to be of enormous interest. -- Floyd W. Hayes, III, Johns Hopkins University In this groundbreaking volume, Haile and his cohort transgress and transcend the disciplinary boundaries of philosophy by critically exploring Richard Wright's oeuvre. Here Wright is not simply read into the philosophy of literature and philosophical fiction traditions, but his novels, short stories, poems, and essays are shown to unambiguously challenge, if not ultimately up-end, these traditions. Indeed, Philosophical Meditations on Richard Wright deftly demonstrates that Wright not only wrote existential-phenomenology-informed fiction, but that his prose often-eerily mirrored the oppression, alienation, tragicomic, absurd, and angst-filled realities of African American life, culture, and struggle. Indeed, in their own unique and awe-inspiring ways, each contributor to this volume deploys Wright's discourse to contest the longstanding lovelessness, horrifying hopelessness, and tormenting meaninglessness that has historically and, sad to say, currently continues to characterize the African American experience. From start to finish this is a fascinating philosophical tour de force that will be welcomed by scholars and students of philosophy, literature, sociology, political science, and African American Studies. -- Reiland Rabaka
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About James B. Haile

James B. Haile, III is McAnulty College scholar-in-residence at Duquesne University.
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