Moralizing White Male Nostalgia: Richard Wright’s Savage Holiday

  • Tim EnglesEmail author


This chapter analyzes Richard Wright’s literary depiction of a representative white male psyche in terms of the author’s critically cognizant black perspective. In Savage Holiday (1954), an overtly Freudian crime novel, a white male insurance executive boils over while trying to contain his emotions in obedience to his era’s expectations of white, middle-class, Christian-oriented career men. Wright exposes the violent side of the nostalgic underpinnings of a collective, besieged white masculine psyche that partially bolsters itself with claims of moral superiority. This chapter advances recently renewed scholarly interest in Wright’s novel by reading its visceral excesses as an allegorical satire on its era’s collective white male emotions, including their grounding in nostalgia and relationally constructed morality. Wright satirizes both ironically immoral white supremacy and postwar white male longings for an earlier social eminence.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eastern Illinois UniversityCharlestonUSA

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