Collected Essays: Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / The Devil Finds Work / Other books

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(Collected Essays: Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / The Devil Finds Work / Other.pdf) Though one of the giants of th century American letters he s often been marginalized relegated to the ghetto of writers about race This perception of Baldwin solely as a black writer and thus one whose interest lies primarily in the sociological or the documentary undercuts the real importance he s had in the development of postwar literature The Library of America celebrates his place at the heart of American culture with two volumes of his most influential work both edited by Toni Morrison br br The first of these collects Baldwin s early fiction including the novels i Go Tell It on the Mountain i i Giovanni s Room i amp i Another Country i amp the short story collection i Going to Meet the Man i The second brings together most of his published essays including those found in such volumes as i Notes of a Native Son i amp i The Fire Next Time i as well as many collected here for the first time br br Baldwin was born in Harlem in the stepson of a Baptist preacher He experienced conversion at age amp spent the next years as a Pentecostal minister By however he d been introduced to the Greenwich Village art amp music scenes He left the church at the end of his senior high school year amp began his life as an artist br br Baldwin is most remembered for his writings on race which began with a number of reviews of books on the Negro problem concerning which the color of my skin made me automatically an expert Throughout his career however he concerned himself less with the black experience per se than with the entire milieu of beliefs amp prejudices that foster the painful relations experienced between the races br br But even from his first novel Baldwin complicated this view of race relations with the equally thorny problems of sexual relations By age he thought himself a homosexual The first inarticulate leanings of a young boy toward members of his own sex can be seen in i Go Tell It on the Mountain i published in Inspired by his own experience this novel portrays a young boy growing up in Harlem who buries his conflict with his parents amp the inner conflict surrounding his feelings about a young preacher at church by experiencing his conversion finding himself saved from his sins both actual amp potential br br i Giovanni s Room i published in takes up these latent issues of sexuality amp masculinity amp makes them the central area of exploration David the narrator attempts throughout to account for a sexuality he perceives as aberrant while telling the story of the young man Giovanni whose life has been destroyed by David s inability to deal honestly with him It s interesting to note that in this first real exploration of the issues of sexuality Baldwin used white characters as though he were equipped at this early point in his career to confront issues of either racial or sexual prejudice but not both br br By the time of i Another Country i however he s brought these two fields of inquiry together This third novel published in is perhaps his most complex evocation of an entire social milieu fraught with conflicts over the battle lines of race amp sex In it Rufus Scott a promising young black jazz musician is driven to suicide after a disastrous affair with a young white woman brings all of his uncontrollable anger about the division between black and white into his daily life The fallout from his death as it affects each person whose life he touched creates a hostile unstable world in which all such conflicts are dragged to the surface br br Baldwin was also a prolific essayist and playwright He spent much of his life shuttling between Paris and NYC as well as shuttling between genres His essays demonstrate his deep involvement in both the literary and the political worlds confronting the same set of interwoven conflicts as his novels but in the turbulent social setting of postwar America br br Published in i The Fire Next Time i may be his most influential work a penetrating analysis of the racial divide in the USA that serves as both a message of hope and a warning If we and now I mean the relatively conscious whites amp the relatively conscious blacks who must like lovers insist on or create the consciousness of others do not falter in our duty now we may be able handful that we are to end the racial nightmare and achieve our country and change the history of the world If we do not now dare everything the fulfillment of that prophecy recreated from the Bible in song by a slave is upon us God gave Noah the rainbow sign No more water the fire next time br br Baldwin died in of esophageal cancer While he was alive he spoke loud and long about the many battle lines that divide our country These Library of America editions are the ideal format for that voice which deserves to be preserved treasured and most of all read Kathleen Fitzpatrick editedDownload 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