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Black Atlantic (Dis)Entanglements: Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and Spain

  • Isabel Soto EMAIL logo


The work of Langston Hughes and Richard Wright provides a unique entry point into an under-studied area of Black Studies: the Spanish role in the construction of racial categories and racially determined practices. My essay examines how Hughe’s and Wright’s reactions to the Hispanophone world were mediated through the issue of race. While Hughes articulates a de-othering or entanglement with his surrounding space, Wright colludes in a historical process of racial differentiation of Spain and things Spanish. Hughes’s writings on the Spanish-speaking world and the 1936–1939 Civil War address issues of race and coloniality and precede current historiography’s recognition of the conflict as a racialized and colonial event. Wright, Hughes’s near contemporary and one-time co-author, provides an intriguing – if problematic – vision of Francoist Spain in his travelog Pagan Spain, published some twenty years after Hughes left the war-torn country in 1937. If Hughes partakes of the Spanish (racial) reality and historical moment, Wright acquiesces in the Black Legend, the exceptionalizing Protestant response to the Iberian superpower of early modernity.

Corresponding author: Isabel Soto, Ph.D., Department of Modern Languages, National University of Distance Education, Po Senda del Ray 7, 28040 Madrid, Spain

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Published Online: 2017-6-21
Published in Print: 2017-6-27

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