James Baldwin | Poetry FoundationJames Baldwin is an iconic author for our time, a writer who gave the world countless poignant essays, shorts stories, novels , plays, and poems during his 63 years. As a gay Black man coming to terms with his identity in the s, '60s, and '70s, Baldwin—who died on December 1, —used his distinct perspective and lyrical writing to shed light on issues of race, homosexuality, and religion in a way that placed him ahead of his time when it came to social commentary. From Go Tell It on the Mountain to Giovanni's Room and the newly-adapted for the big screen If Beale Street Could Talk , we've gathered some of Baldwin's most popular texts, all of which are still essential reading today. And don't worry: we've included a complete list of his life's work, too—because they're all worthy of praise. In his first novel, Baldwin penned a semi-autobiographical story about a boy named John Grimes, a teen growing up in s Harlem who struggles with self-identity as the stepson of a strict Pentecostal minister. The story mirrors the author's own life; Baldwin, too was raised by a stepfather who served as a Baptist pastor. I had to deal, above all, with my father.
Another Country by James Baldwin Book Chat - Black Writers Corner
10 James Baldwin Books to Read in Your Lifetime
A novelist and essayist of considerable renown, James Baldwin bore articulate witness to the unhappy consequences of American racial strife. Tri-Quarterly contributor Robert A. Best-sellers such as Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time acquainted wide audiences with his highly personal observations and his sense of urgency in the face of rising black bitterness. Black people reading Baldwin knew he wrote the truth. White people reading Baldwin sensed his truth about the lives of black people and the sins of a racist nation.
Born in in New York City, James Baldwin published the novel Go Tell It on the Mountain , going on to garner acclaim for his insights on race, spirituality and humanity. One of the 20th century's greatest writers, Baldwin broke new literary ground with the exploration of racial and social issues in his many works. He was especially known for his essays on the black experience in America. Baldwin was born to a young single mother, Emma Jones, at Harlem Hospital. She reportedly never told him the name of his biological father.
Who Was James Baldwin?
James Baldwin , in full James Arthur Baldwin , born August 2, , New York , New York—died December 1, , Saint-Paul, France , American essayist, novelist, and playwright whose eloquence and passion on the subject of race in America made him an important voice, particularly in the late s and early s, in the United States and, later, through much of western Europe. The eldest of nine children, he grew up in poverty in the black ghetto of Harlem in New York City. From age 14 to 16 he was active during out-of-school hours as a preacher in a small revivalist church, a period he wrote about in his semiautobiographical first and finest novel , Go Tell It on the Mountain , and in his play about a woman evangelist, The Amen Corner performed in New York City,
As a youth Baldwin read constantly and even tried writing. He was an excellent student who sought escape from his environment through literature, movies and theater. During the summer of his 14th birthday he underwent a dramatic religious conversion, partly in response to his nascent sexuality and partly as a further buffer against the ever-present temptations of drugs and crime. He served as a junior minister for three years at the Fireside Pentecostal Assembly, but gradually lost his desire to preach as he began to question Christian tenets. Shortly after he graduated from high school in , Baldwin was compelled to find work in order to help support his brothers and sisters; mental instability had incapacitated his stepfather. Baldwin took a job in the defense industry in Belle Meade, N. Baldwin moved to Greenwich Village and began to write a novel, supporting himself by performing a variety of odd jobs.
James Arthur Baldwin August 2, — December 1, was an American novelist , playwright , and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son , explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in midth-century North America. Baldwin's novels and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures thwarting the equitable integration of not only African Americans , but also gay and bisexual men, while depicting some internalized obstacles to such individuals' quests for acceptance. Such dynamics are prominent in Baldwin's second novel, Giovanni's Room , written in , well before the gay liberation movement. James Arthur Baldwin was born on August 2,
My love for words seemed to have always existed. I fell asleep atop giant books when I was too young to fully understand the entire concept of the stories within them, but that never stopped me from trying. I especially craved novels written by Black people. I am a biracial person, and I was always drawn to my Black roots most of all. Black women inspired me.