Only a boy preacher who had grown up to become one of America's most eminent writers could have produced a play like The Amen Corner. For to his first work for the theater James Baldwin brought all the fervor and majestic rhetoric of the storefront churches of his childhood along with an unwavering awareness of the price those churches exacted from their worshipers. For years Sister Margaret Alexander has moved her Harlem congregation with a mixture of personal charisma and ferocious piety. But when Margaret's estranged husband, a scapegrace jazz musician, comes home to die, she is in danger of losing both her standing in the church and the son she has tried to keep on the godly path. The Amen Corner is a play about faith and family, about the gulf between black men and black women and black fathers and black sons. It is a scalding, uplifting, sorrowful and exultant masterpiece of the modern American theater.
Set in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France, among other locales, Another Country is a novel of passions--sexual, racial, political, artistic--that is stunning for its emotional intensity and haunting sensuality, depicting men and women, blacks and whites, stripped of their masks of gender and race by love and hatred at the most elemental and sublime. In a small set of friends, Baldwin imbues the best and worst intentions of liberal America in the early 1970s.
In a small Southern town, a white man murders a black man, then throws his body in the weeds. With this act of violence--which is loosely based on the notorious 1955 killing of Emmett Till--James Baldwin launches an unsparing and at times agonizing probe of the wounds of race. For where once a white storekeeper could have shot a "boy" like Richard Henry with impunity, times have changed. And centuries of brutality and fear, patronage and contempt, are about to erupt in a moment of truth as devastating as a shotgun blast.In his award-winning play, Baldwin turns a murder and its aftermath into an inquest in which even the most well-intentioned whites are implicated--and in which even a killer receives his share of compassion.
Novelist, essayist, and public intellectual, James Baldwin was one of the most brilliant and provocative literary figures of the postwar era, and one of the greatest African-American writers of this century. A self-described "transatlantic commuter" who spent much of his life in France, Baldwin joined cosmopolitan sophistication with a fierce engagement in social issues. Edited by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, the Library of America's Collected Essays-the most comprehensive gathering of Baldwin's nonfiction ever published-confirms him as a uniquely prophetic voice in American letters. With burning passion and jabbing, epigrammatic wit, Baldwin fearlessly articulated issues of race and democracy and American identity in such famous essays as "The Harlem Ghetto," "Everybody's Protest Novel," "Many Thousands Gone," and "Stranger in the Village. " Here are the complete texts of his early landmark collections, Notes of a Native Son (1955) and Nobody Knows My Name (1961), which established him as an essential intellectual voice of his time, fusing in unique fashion the personal, the literary, and the political. "One writes," he stated, "out of one thing only-one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. " With singular eloquence and unblinking sharpness of observation he lived up to his credo: "I want to be an honest man and a good writer. " The classic The Fire Next Time (1963), perhaps the most influential of his writings, is his most penetrating analysis of America's racial divide and an impassioned call to "end the racial nightmare. . . and change the history of the world. " The later volumes No Name in the Street (1972) and The Devil Finds Work (1976) chart his continuing response to the social and political turbulence of his era and include his remarkable works of film criticism. A further 36 essays-nine of them previously uncollected-include some of Baldwin's earliest published writings, as well as revealing later insights into the language of Shakespeare, the poetry of Langston Hughes, and the music of Earl Hines.
A Vintage Shorts "Short Story Month" Selection James Baldwin's commanding prose remains as pressing in its compassionate portrayal of marginalized figures today as it was during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. In "Come Out the Wilderness," an essential and tremendous classic of American literature, Baldwin unmasks the heartbreak of one African American woman's spiritual, sexual, moral, and ultimately futile struggle for control of her future and her happiness in mid-century New York. An ebook short.
The Cross of Redemption is a revelation by an American literary master: a gathering of essays, articles, polemics, reviews, and interviews that have never before appeared in book form. James Baldwin was one of the most brilliant and provocative literary figures of the past century, renowned for his fierce engagement with issues haunting our common history. In The Cross of Redemption we have Baldwin discoursing on, among other subjects, the possibility of an African-American president and what it might mean; the hypocrisy of American religious fundamentalism; the black church in America; the trials and tribulations of black nationalism; anti-Semitism; the blues and boxing; Russian literary masters; and the role of the writer in our society. Prophetic and bracing, The Cross of Redemption is a welcome and important addition to the works of a cosmopolitan and canonical American writer who still has much to teach us about race, democracy, and personal and national identity. As Michael Ondaatje has remarked, "If van Gogh was our nineteenth-century artist-saint, Baldwin [was] our twentieth-century one."From the Hardcover edition.
Recently chosen by Essence magazine, this beloved modern classic tells the poignant story of a spirited young woman's coming of age in -Depression-era Harlem. While 12-year-old Francie Coffin's world and family threaten to fall apart, this remarkable young heroine must call upon her own wit and endurance to survive amidst the treacheries of racism and sexism, poverty and violence. "The novel's greatest achievement lies in the strong sense of black life that it conveys: the vitality and force behind the despair . . . a most -important novel."--New York Times Book Review
James Baldwin At The Movies... Provocative, timeless, brilliant. Bette Davis's eyes, Joan Crawford's bitchy elegance, Stepin Fetchit's stereotype, Sidney Poitier's superhuman black man... These are the movie stars and the qualities that influenced James Baldwin... and now become part of his incisive look at racism in American movies.Baldwin challenges the underlying assumptions in such films as In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and The Exorcist, offering us a vision of America's self-delusions and deceptions. Here are our loves and hates, biases and cruelties, fears and ignorance reflected by the films that have entertained us and shaped our consciousness. And here, too, is the stunning prose of a writer whose passion never diminished his struggle for equality, justice, and social change.From The Birth of a Nation to The Exorcist--one of America's most important writers turns his critical eye to American film.
This edition offers a selection of famous episodes retold for young readers.
In his searing and moving essay, James Baldwin explores the Atlanta child murders that took place over a period of twenty-two months in 1979 and 1980. Examining this incident with a reporter's skill and an essayist's insight, he notes the significance of Atlanta as the site of these brutal killings a city that claimed to be too busy to hate and the permeation of race throughout the case: the black administration in Atlanta; the murdered black children; and Wayne Williams, the black man tried for the crimes. Rummaging through the ruins of American race relations, Baldwin addresses all the hard-to-face issues that have brought us a moment in history where it is terrifying to to be a black child in white America, and where, too often, public officials fail to ask real questions about justice for all. Baldwin takes a time-specific event and makes it timeless: The Evidence of Things Not Seen offers an incisive look at race in America through a lens at once disturbing and profoundly revealing.
James Baldwin has collected fifty wonderful stories, including Robin Hood, William Tell, King Alfred and Julius Caesar. Your child will be delighted to hear or read these, and will not only be entertained, but will learn about history and folklore. These stories will also help lay the foundation for broader literary studies.
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.
Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.
"Mountain," Baldwin said, "is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else." Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.
"There's no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it." The men and women in these eight short fictions grasp this truth on an elemental level, and their stories, as told by James Baldwin, detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which they try to keep their head above water. It may be the heroin that a down-and-out jazz pianist uses to face the terror of pouring his life into an inanimate instrument. It may be the brittle piety of a father who can never forgive his son for his illegitimacy. Or it may be the screen of bigotry that a redneck deputy has raised to blunt the awful childhood memory of the day his parents took him to watch a black man being murdered by a gleeful mob.By turns haunting, heartbreaking, and horrifying--and informed throughout by Baldwin's uncanny knowledge of the wounds racism has left in both its victims and its perpetrators--Going to Meet the Man is a major work by one of our most important writers.
Fonny, a young artist, falls in love with his childhood friend Tish. They dream of marriage and family but it is short-lived due to the unjust arrest of Fonny. But Tish is determined to free him.
Never before available, the unexpurgated last interview with James Baldwin"I was not born to be what someone said I was. I was not born to be defined by someone else, but by myself, and myself only." When, in the fall of 1987, the poet Quincy Troupe traveled to the south of France to interview James Baldwin, Baldwin's brother David told him to ask Baldwin about everything--Baldwin was critically ill and David knew that this might be the writer's last chance to speak at length about his life and work.The result is one of the most eloquent and revelatory interviews of Baldwin's career, a conversation that ranges widely over such topics as his childhood in Harlem, his close friendship with Miles Davis, his relationship with writers like Toni Morrison and Richard Wright, his years in France, and his ever-incisive thoughts on the history of race relations and the African-American experience.Also collected here are significant interviews from other moments in Baldwin's life, including an in-depth interview conducted by Studs Terkel shortly after the publication of Nobody Knows My Name. These interviews showcase, above all, Baldwin's fearlessness and integrity as a writer, thinker, and individual, as well as the profound struggles he faced along the way.
All of the published poetry of James Baldwin, including six significant poems previously only available in a limited edition During his lifetime (1924-1987), James Baldwin authored seven novels, as well as several plays and essay collections, which were published to wide-spread praise. These books, among them Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time, Giovanni's Room, and Go Tell It on the Mountain, brought him well-deserved acclaim as a public intellectual and admiration as a writer. However, Baldwin's earliest writing was in poetic form, and Baldwin considered himself a poet throughout his lifetime. Nonetheless, his single book of poetry, Jimmy's Blues, never achieved the popularity of his novels and nonfiction, and is the one and only book to fall out of print. This new collection presents James Baldwin the poet, including all nineteen poems from Jimmy's Blues, as well as all the poems from a limited-edition volume called Gypsy, of which only 325 copies were ever printed and which was in production at the time of his death. Known for his relentless honesty and startlingly prophetic insights on issues of race, gender, class, and poverty, Baldwin is just as enlightening and bold in his poetry as in his famous novels and essays. The poems range from the extended dramatic narratives of "Staggerlee wonders" and "Gypsy" to the lyrical beauty of "Some days," which has been set to music and interpreted by such acclaimed artists as Audra McDonald. Nikky Finney's introductory essay reveals the importance, relevance, and rich rewards of these little-known works. Baldwin's many devotees will find much to celebrate in these pages.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Native Sons: A Friendship That Created One of the Great Works of the Twentieth Century: Notes of a Native Sonby James Baldwin Sol Stein
James Baldwin was beginning to be recognized as the most brilliant black writer of his generation when his first book of essays, Notes of a Native Son, established his reputation in 1955. No one was more pleased by the book's reception than Baldwin's high school friend Sol Stein. A rising New York editor, novelist, and playwright, Stein had suggested that Baldwin do the book and coaxed his old friend through the long and sometimes agonizing process of putting the volume together and seeing it into print. Now, in this fascinating new book, Sol Stein documents the story of his intense creative partnership with Baldwin through newly uncovered letters, photos, inscriptions, and an illuminating memoir of the friendship that resulted in one of the classics of American literature. Included in this book are the two works they created together--the story "Dark Runner" and the play "Equal in Paris," both published here for the first time. Though a world of difference separated them--Baldwin was black and gay, living in self-imposed exile in Europe; Stein was Jewish and married, with a growing family to support--the two men shared the same fundamental passion. Nothing mattered more to either of them than telling and writing the truth, which was not always welcome. As Stein wrote Baldwin in a long, heartfelt letter, "You are the only friend with whom I feel comfortable about all three: heart, head, and writing." In this extraordinary book, Stein unfolds how that shared passion played out in the months surrounding the creation and publication of Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son, in which Baldwin's main themes are illuminated. A literary event published to honor the eightieth anniversary of James Baldwin's birth, Native Sons is a celebration of one of the most fruitful and influential friendships in American letters.
This stunningly personal document and extraordinary history of the turbulent sixties and early seventies displays James Baldwin's fury and despair more deeply than any of his other works. In vivid detail he remembers the Harlem childhood that shaped his early conciousness, the later events that scored his heart with pain--the murders of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, his sojourns in Europe and in Hollywood, and his retum to the American South to confront a violent America face-to-face.
Told with Baldwin's characteristically unflinching honesty, this collection of illuminating, deeply felt essays examines topics ranging from race relations in the United States to the role of the writer in society, and offers personal accounts of Richard Wright, Norman Mailer and other writers.
A new edition published on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Baldwin's death, including a new introduction by an important contemporary writer Since its original publication in 1955, this first nonfiction collection of essays by James Baldwin remains an American classic. His impassioned essays on life in Harlem, the protest novel, movies, and African Americans abroad are as powerful today as when they were first written. "A straight-from-the-shoulder writer, writing about the troubled problems of this troubled earth with an illuminating intensity." --Langston Hughes, The New York Times Book Review "Written with bitter clarity and uncommon grace." --TimeFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
Based on Alex Haley's bestselling classic The Autobiography of Malcolm X, a rare, lucidly composed screenplay from one of America's great masters of letters.Son of a Baptist minister; New York City hustler; honor student; convicted criminal; powerful minister in the Nation of Islam; father and husband: Malcolm X transformed himself, time and again, in order to become one of the most feared, loved, and undeniably charismatic leaders of twentieth-century America. No one better represents the tumultuous times of his generation, and there is no one better to capture him and his milieu than James Baldwin. With spare, elegant, yet forceful dialogue and fresh, precise camera directions, Baldwin breathes cinematic life into this controversial and important figure, offering a new look at a man who changed himself in order to change the country.
An eBook short.In James Baldwin's classic short story, "The Outing," from Going to Meet the Man, a Harlem church group escapes the city for a summer day-trip of prayer and, more importantly, romance. Every summer, the Harlem Mount of Olives Pentecostal Assembly gives an outing, around the Fourth of July. There is boating, testifying, and illicit steps towards young love. Delving deeply into the church community he would depict in Go Tell It On The Mountain, this is Baldwin at his most compassionate, investigating the sexual ambivalence and towering religion of a group of young children on their way up the Hudson. "The Outing" is the perfect introduction to an American master.
At the height of his theatrical career, the actor Leo Proudhammer is nearly felled by a heart attack. As he hovers between life and death, Baldwin shows the choices that have made him enviably famous and terrifyingly vulnerable. For between Leo's childhood on the streets of Harlem and his arrival into the intoxicating world of the theater lies a wilderness of desire and loss, shame and rage. An adored older brother vanishes into prison. There are love affairs with a white woman and a younger black man, each of whom will make irresistible claims on Leo's loyalty. And everywhere there is the anguish of being black in a society that at times seems poised on the brink of total racial war. Overpowering in its vitality, extravagant in the intensity of its feeling, Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone is a major work of American literature.
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