This essay approaches Richard Wright’s naturalist novel Native Son (1940) as a statistically informed project that explores probability and potentiality not as theoretical concepts but as material and historical phenomena instantiated by the emerging statistical governance of the New Deal state. I demonstrate the ways Bigger is rendered as information throughout the novel to show that Wright’s work anticipates how the state was increasingly relying on nonvisual, informatic processes of perception, foreshadowing the racialized data of the digital age.

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