Everybody's Protest Novel
March | 5:30-7pm GMT | Zoom
In this session we will
consider the protest novel as a genre, beginning with Baldwin’s thoughts from
his essay ‘Everybody’s Protest Novel’, published in Notes of a Native Son
in 1955. In this essay, he examines the flaws in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle
Tom’s Cabin, arguing that it adopts an overly simplistic view of complex
racial issues. He then goes on to argue that this is also true of Richard
Wright’s novel Native Son. This essay, along with another essay in that
same collection (‘Many Thousands Gone’) were partly responsible for a rift
between Baldwin and Wright which continued until Wright’s death.
Protest Novel’, we will then read an essay by Richard Wright, ‘How Bigger Was Born’, which looks at the motivations behind his writing of Native Son.
We will consider whether Baldwin’s comments on the novel seem justified in
light of this, and what a successful protest novel might look like.
There is no expectation that you will be familiar with Native
Son or Uncle Tom’s Cabin to attend the session, and we look forward
to seeing as many of you as possible at the meeting on Thursday 11th
March. The meeting is being held over Zoom so please email email@example.com for the link to the