Julia Wright stated that she believed previously unpublished portions add context to the story of a man’s adventures in sewers, otherwise a realistic dimension to a fictional story. “We need to understand Fred Daniels’ transformation of being underground, in daylight, in critical daylight,” she said.
Some of Wright’s first readers of the manuscript were restrained by the brutality of the scenes of those days. Kerker Quinn, editor of the literary quarterly Accent, called him “unbearable” in the margin of his copy. After rejecting the Harper & Brothers novel, Queen included two short excerpts in the magazine in 1942, focusing only on scenes from Daniel’s underground cave. In 1944, the story was published in “Cross Section” – without the first section of the novel and later included in Wright’s collection of short stories, “Eight Men.”
“It is not by accident that it was not published back in the 1940s,” said his grandson, Malcolm Wright, in an interview.
In an interview stated that along with the cuts made to the novel, Katin’s authors and publishers were uneasy about the subject matter and tone of the original book, with John Kulka saying this in an interview.
While “Original Son” also had scenes of violence – some of which were cut or modified at the request of the Wright Book-of-the-Month Club – Black was the victim of the protagonist, Big Thomas, who was both white and black , And his story seemed traffic in tropes, as James Baldwin argued in “Everybody’s Protest Novel”, appealing for white sympathy.
“The Man Who Leaved Underground” made no such appeal. “This is an extremely black book,” said Casey Lemon, an author who counted Wright among its influences and read the Library of America edition before its publication. “There is no character in this book that white liberals can say, ‘Oh, it’s me.” It sells occasionally. “
In the included essay “Memorial of My Grandmight”, Wright explained the novel’s origins, writing that he was inspired by his Seventh-day Adventist grandmother, the composition of blues lyrics, “invisible man” 1930s movies, writing Gertrude Stein and The advent of surrealism in America. Lemon described the book as both an critique of the justice system and “an internal, surrealist black story, from a black space to a black space and the places and people told”.