James Baldwin

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Baldwin, James,

1924–87, American author, b. New York City. He spent an impoverished boyhood in Harlem, became a Pentecostal preacher at 14, and left the church three years later. He moved to Paris in 1947 and while living there wrote his first two novels, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), reflecting his experience as a young preacher, and Giovanni's Room (1956), which dealt with his homosexuality, as well as the intensely personal, racially charged essay collection Notes of a Native Son (1955). Baldwin returned to the United States in 1957 and participated in the civil-rights movement, later returning to France, where he lived for the remainder of his life. Another Country (1962), a bitter novel about sexual relations and racial tension, received critical acclaim, as did the perceptive essays in what is probably his most celebrated book, The Fire Next Time (1963). His eloquence and unsparing honesty made Baldwin one of the most influential authors of his time. Other works include the play Blues for Mr. Charlie (1964); a volume of short stories, Going to Meet the Man (1964); and the novels If Beale Street Could Talk (1974, film 2018), the story of a young black couple victimized by the judicial system, and Just above My Head (1979). Collections of essays include Nobody Knows My Name (1961), No Name in the Street (1972), and The Price of a Ticket (1985). Little Man, Little Man (1976) a picture book for young readers (and adults) about a boy growing up in Harlem, was reissued in 2018 to wide acclaim.


See his collected essays (1998) and uncollected writings (2010); interviews in James Baldwin: The Legacy (1989, ed. by Q. Troupe) and Conversations with James Baldwin (1989, ed. by F. L. Standley and L. H. Pratt); biographies by W. J. Wetherby (1989), J. Campbell (1991), D. Leeming (1994), and D. Field (2015); studies by L. H. Pratt (1985), H. A. Porter (1989), D. A. McBride, ed. (1999), D. Q. Miller (2000), L. O. Scott (2002), H. Bloom, ed. (2006), D. Field, ed. (2009), and M. J. Zaborowska (2009).

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Baldwin, James (Arthur)

(1924–87) writer; born in Harlem, N.Y. Son of a preacher, as a teenager he himself was a preacher in a Harlem pentecostal church. After high school he began publishing polemical essays on the black experience in journals including The Nation and Commentary. Supported largely by fellowships, he began writing fiction in Paris (1948–56). His first novels, the autobiographical Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953) and Giovanni's Room (1956) established him as a promising novelist and anticipated some of the themes dealt with in later works, such as racism and homosexuality. In the U.S.A. (1957–1970s) he became a civil rights activist, and, through his essays, plays, and lectures, something of a celebrity as a spokesman for angry African-Americans. His novels include Another Country (1962), Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone (1968), and Just Above My Head (1979). His essays were collected in several volumes including Notes of a Native Son (1955), Nobody Knows My Name (1961), The Fire Next Time (1963), and The Price of a Ticket (1985). His plays include The Amen Corner (produced 1955), Blues for Mister Charlie (1964). He lived in France during his last years, although he returned to the U.S.A. to hold special academic appointments.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Well, part of the magic, if you like, that I experience, that so many of us experience in James Baldwin's work, is a kind of sense of liberation.
As we move deeper into the twenty-first century, James Baldwin is unavoidable in ways that mid- to late-twentieth-century literary contemporaries such as Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer are, simply put, not.
PARIS -- Let's just make this point up front that kept being made all weekend: James Baldwin was not an expatriate, and he didn't escape anything.
Critique: A seminal work of stellar scholarship based upon exhaustive research, "Who Can Afford to Improvise?: James Baldwin and Black Music, the Lyric and the Listeners" is an essential study with respect to the life, accomplishments, and enduring influence of James Baldwin on a variety of American popular music forms.
Many of the most recent works are inspired by the poetry of James Baldwin from the new volume, "Jimmy's Blues and Other Poems”, a compilation of his lessor known verses.
James Baldwin: America and Beyond makes forceful contributions to the transnational scholarship on Baldwin's life and works by embedding selected writings of Baldwin within both the national and international contexts that influenced them.
Qatargas was represented by James Baldwin, environmental manager, and Dana Haidan, corporate citizenship officer.
James Baldwin (1924-1987)--novelist, essayist, journalist, and recalcitrant public intellectual--blazed a trail through the Civil Rights era, arguing that racism is not so much a product of deep rooted preconceptions as it is a larger symptom of a diseased civilization.
ETHAN James Baldwin entered the world on October, 27, 2010, weighing 7lbs 11oz.
The friendship between FarA[umlaut]s and James Baldwin, which is a main subject of the book, emerged concurrent with the book's writing.
James Baldwin, like an Old Testament prophet whose insistent voice refuses to fall silent, has been one of this country's most persistent witnesses.
IN THE FALL OF 1951, the 27-year-old James Baldwin, seeking a quiet place to finish what would become his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, found himself in the Swiss village of Loeche-les-Bains.