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Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1753-6421
  • E-ISSN: 1753-643X



Orson Welles’s 1941 stage production of Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940) serves as a prime example of his sensitivities. Welles’s involvement in the project exemplifies his life-long interest in topical and controversial American subjects, as well as literary adaptations. More importantly, however, it appears as a special moment in which he fused his passion for realist techniques, with those more associated with expressionism. Welles’s Native Son then appeared as a confrontational exercise in terms of theatricality and adaptation. This article traces Welles’s involvement with Wright’s celebrated novel, describes the production and its relationship to the novel, and aims to situate it within Welles’s dynamic career.


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