Archive for the Richard Wright category

Existential America (7): Highway 61 revisited

When I first read George Cotkin’s Existential America several years ago, I came across this review: T. H. Adamowski, “Out on Highway 61: Existentialism in America,” University of Toronto Quarterly, Volume 74, Number 4, Fall 2005, pp. 913-933. From this link you can download a PDF of the full text. The reviewer is obviously highly […]

Existential America (6): Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, C.L.R. James

Cotkin was wise to include Black American appropriations of existentialism, as this gives me an opportunity to test my hypothesis that their perspective was different from white people’s investment in existentialism, and particularly that Wright used Kierkegaard for different purposes than his white contemporaries. Chapter 8 features Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison. Sartre unwittingly and […]

Existential America (5): C.L.R. James, Richard Wright, & Kierkegaard

I knew Richard Wright very well indeed. I may have mentioned this to some of you. Dick fancied himself as a cook. He would cook rice and chicken or something in some Southern way and say, “Come over, I’m going to cook today.” I used to eat it. But he was a remarkable man. One […]

Existential America (4): Kierkegaard analyzed (1942)

Otto F. Kraushaar, “Kierkegaard in English. I”, The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 39, No. 21 (Oct. 8, 1942), pp. 561-583. While long recognized in Scandinavian, German, and theological circles, Kierkegaard began to be profusely translated into English only in the three years preceding the writing of this article, in which eight books are under review. […]

Existential America (2): Richard Wright on Albert Camus

The Stranger. Translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert. New York: A. A. Knopf, 1946. “It [The Stranger] is a neat job but devoid of passion. He makes his point with dispatch and his prose is solid and good. In America a book like this would not attract much attention, for it would be said […]

Existential America revisited

Cotkin, George. Existential America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. Contents: Acknowledgements Chapter One Introduction 1741-1949: American Existentialists before the Fact Chapter Two The “Drizzly November” of the American Soul 1928-1955: Kierkegaardian Moments Chapter Three Kierkegaard Comes to America Chapter Four A Kierkegaardian Age of Anxiety 1944-1960: The Era of French Existentialism Chapter Five The […]

Boris Karloff recites William Blake

Written February 24, 2011 at 6:41 am Thanks to media technology, I am now able to revisit television series I watched a half century ago when I was too young to know anything. Case in point, THRILLER with host Boris Karloff. Karloff introduces The Terror in Teakwood (16 May 1961) with especially menacing melodrama. He starts off […]

Summer of ’11 Book Orgy

Here is a sampling of hard-copy books I’ve been reading all or parts of since my birthday, more or less in reverse chronological order, but several of these simultaneously. This doesn’t include isolated essays, chapters, or online reading. Yovel, Yirmiyahu. Spinoza and Other Heretics: The Adventures of Immanence [v. 2]. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, […]

March – mid-June 2008 reading review (1): books

I have not published a reading review since June 2007. Instead of beginning with July, I’ll work my way backward. At the moment there is too much non-book material to document readily, so this is an effort at compiling a list of books I’ve read part or all of since the beginning of March. I […]

June 2007 reading review (1): Black authors

Cornel West, Marxism & morality West, Cornel. The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1991. West wrote this in the late 1970s, before he became a star. The exposition of the development of the Young Marx is good. He presents interesting information on Engels, Kautsky, and Lukàcs, but his thesis contrasting […]