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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 700

Baldwin, James. The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985. New York: St. Martin’s Press/Marek, 1985. The essays “Everybody’s Protest Novel” and “Alas, Poor Richard” provide important and provocative insights into Wright and his art.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Richard Wright . New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Essays on various...

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Baldwin, James. The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985. New York: St. Martin’s Press/Marek, 1985. The essays “Everybody’s Protest Novel” and “Alas, Poor Richard” provide important and provocative insights into Wright and his art.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Richard Wright. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Essays on various aspects of Wright’s work and career, with an introduction by Bloom.

Burrison, William. “Another Look at Lawd Today: Richard Wright’s Tricky Apprenticeship.” College Language Association Journal 29 (June, 1986): 424-441. Both positive and negative assessments of Lawd Today have failed to present a detailed, comprehensive analysis of the text itself. The novel is organized according to the comic pattern of the fool/trickster tale; Jake is a version of the tragic fool. The irony of Jake’s position is expressed through complex patterns of colors and numbers and through the use of Lincoln’s birthday as background for Jake’s unlucky day.

Fabre, Michel. The World of Richard Wright. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1985. A collection of Fabre’s essays on Wright. A valuable but not sustained full-length study.

Fabre, Michel. The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright. 2d ed. Translated by Isabel Barzun. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993. The standard biography of Wright. Details his childhood in the South, his role in the literary scenes of Chicago and New York, his relationship with the Communist Party, and his final years among American writers in Paris. Includes interpretation of his novels and summaries of their reception. Fabre explains how Lawd Today is autobiographical, since the story of Jake is based on Wright’s own experience working in the main Chicago post office during the Depression.

Hakutani, Yoshinobu. Richard Wright and Racial Discourse. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1996. Chapters on Lawd Today, Uncle Tom’s Children, Native Son, The Outsider, and Black Boy, as well as discussions of later fiction, black power, and Wright’s handling of sexuality. Includes introduction and bibliography.

Hakutani, Yoshinobu. “Richard Wright’s Experiment in Naturalism and Satire: Lawd Today.” Studies in American Fiction 14, no. 2 (Autumn, 1986): 165-178. Neither simply naturalism nor satire alone, Wright’s novel is an experiment at combining the two types of plot to suggest that the foibles of Jake are those of human nature.

Kinnamon, Keneth, ed. Critical Essays on Richard Wright’s “Native Son.” New York: Twayne, 1997. Divided into sections of reviews, reprinted essays, and new essays. Includes discussions of Wright’s handling of race, voice, tone, novelistic structure, the city, and literary influences. Index but no bibliography.

Kinnamon, Keneth. The Emergence of Richard Wright. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1972. A study of Wright’s background and development as a writer, up to the publication of Native Son (1940).

Leary, Lewis. “Lawd Today: Notes on Richard Wright’s First/Last Novel.” In Critical Essays on Richard Wright, edited by Yoshinobu Hakutani. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982. Though Lawd Today is an apprentice novel, showing the influence of such writers as John Dos Passos, Gertrude Stein, and James T. Farrell, Wright’s creation of Jake as a caricature of the white world is original.

Margolies, Edward. “Foreshadowings: Lawd Today.” In The Art of Richard Wright. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969. Because of its subtle indirect social criticism, Lawd Today is in some ways more sophisticated than his most famous work, Native Son. Themes of the black man as both villain and hero, black nationalism, the erosion of folk ties in Northern cities, and the similarity of the hero’s failed strivings to the absurdity of the existentialist hero anticipate major themes of Wright’s later work.

Mootry, Maria K. “Bitches, Whores, and Woman Haters: Archetypes and Typologies in the Art of Richard Wright.” In Richard Wright: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Richard Macksey and Frank E. Moorer. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1984. Argues that Jake’s quest in Lawd Today is the quest of all Wright’s heroes: the pursuit of freedom and manhood against the barriers of racism and the power of black women.

Walker, Margaret. Richard Wright: Daemonic Genius. New York: Warner Books, 1988. A critically acclaimed study of Wright’s life and work written by a respected novelist.

Webb, Constance. Richard Wright: A Biography. New York: Putnam, 1968. A well-written biography which remains useful.

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