On Charles S. Wright’s 1960s Novels of Societal Rejects

Ishmael Reed at Literary Hub:

Charles Wright refused to audition as a hatchet man contestant in the Manhattan token wars in which only one Black writer is left standing during a given era. When I asked George Schuyler, author of the classic novel Black No More, why he, at the time, hadn’t received more recognition, he said he wasn’t a member of The Clique. Tokenism deprives readers of access to a variety of Black writers and smothers the efforts of individual geniuses like Elizabeth Nunez, J. J. Phillips, Charles Wright, and William Demby, whose final novel, King Comus, I published.

In the 1960s, when literary-minded editors influenced publishing, such a rejection by a master would have been thought unthinkable. A woman acquaintance advised Charles Wright to be more sociable. You know, network. Every attempt to take him “uptown,” the image of cultural success, was rebuffed by the author. His bad manners sent an interviewer from a prominent women’s magazine scurrying after he decided to urinate in public. He despised the elite and their mannerisms. He called members of the Black middle class “cocksuckers.”

more here.

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