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James Baldwin : 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 Essays (Library of America) [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   869
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.1" Width: 5.2" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 1998
Publisher   Library of America
Age  18
ISBN  1883011523  
EAN  9781883011529  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A comprehensive compilation of Baldwin's previously published, nonfiction writings encompasses essays on America's racial divide, the social and political turbulence of his time, and his insights into the poetry of Langston Hughes and the music of Earl Hines.

Publishers Description
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.

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More About James Baldwin & Toni Morrison

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! James Baldwin was born in 1924 and educated in New York. He is the author of more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, including Go Tell It on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni's Room, Nobody Knows My Name, Another Country, and The Fire Next Time. Among the awards he received are a Eugene F. Saxon Memorial Trust Award, a Rosenwald Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Partisan Review Fellowship, and a Ford Foundation grant. He was made a Commander of the Legion of Honor in 1986. Baldwin died in 1987.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
James Baldwin: Collected Essays  Apr 7, 2008
One of the greatest writers of the 1900's. Excellent physical book. Well-made and aesthetically pleasing.

During the time period, Baldwin creates a reality that few understand.
A must for the Serious Scholar's library  Jul 22, 2006
This collection of Baldwin's writings is priceless because not only is it a showcase of an agile and fertile mind, it also brings together in a single volume some of his most popular and more famous as well as some of his less formal writings and speeches.

Always well ahead of his times, Baldwin's essays remain fresh and as relevant in today's more quiescent racial times as they were during the more troubled times of his life. They remain fresh because they tell in Baldwin's own inimical and elegant way, the deeper truths about our troubled racial past and present. Most of all they reflect how Baldwin used his quick and restless mind to critique the social and artistic scenes of our troubled era: His strategy, reflected in this collection, was always to mine the substance from the subtext upwards. Those of us who try to mimic his techniques can learn a lot from this and the companion volume of his collected works.

At the same time, Baldwin's psychological analysis remains unerring and at least as sharp as, if not sharper than those of some of his French contemporaries, including his friends and compatriots in the struggle, Franz Fanon and Jean Paul Sartre, who also were both not only revolutionaries and revolutionary thinkers like Baldwin, but also a Psychiatrist and a Philosopher, respectively.

No library on the history of race in America or France is complete without this well designed and well-organized volume. Five stars.
Like Nothing Else You've Read  Jun 3, 2005
A lot of reviewers have talked about owning this book if you are distinctly interested in collecting works by black authors or in black studies. I think that this book is an essential element to anyone's library, in particular people interested in the craft of writing. Toni Morrison calls Baldwin the greatest essayist of the 20th century and I couldn't agree more.
In this collection of essays, it becomes clear that Baldwin has truly perfected the craft of the essay. Not only is Baldwin's content, his concepts of honesty and truth, of light and dark, right and wrong, of white and black, and much more straight up revolutionary, but he manages to have his content reflected in the craft and style of each essay, which should really be the goal of all writers.
More than anything, Baldwin has an exquisite ability to reveal a complex truth in a simple concise way. All of these essays, indeed all of Baldwin's works, have one common thread. And that is that TRUTH is found within contradiction, because contradiction is honest. I think anyone who browses this page should immediately try and at least check this out of their libary (though it's definitely worth owning, every time I reread it I discover new things) because it really will effect you in meaningful ways.
A great book -- A worthy part of a great series  Feb 23, 2004
I love James Baldwin--I think he's a tremendous writer, so Toni Morrison could hardly go wrong in selecting essays for this volume. All of the selections are excellent. Notes of a Native Son contains a touching eulogy for Richard Wright ("Alas, Poor Richard"), explaining the lonliness and problems Mr. Wright had at the end of his life. Baldwin displays his tremendous range as both a political commentator and a literary critic. The Devil Finds Work, in particular, is very insightful--and several parts humourous.

What I don't understand--and why I struck a star off this collection--is why Ms. Morrison did not include "Evidence of Things Unseen," Baldwin's analysis of the Atlanta child murders from the early eighties. Perhaps Library of America is planning later volumes of Baldwin's works--The companion volume to these essays is his "Early Novels," most notably "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "Giovani's Room." I can't imagine that Library of America would not produce a volume including Mr. Baldwin's later works--especially "Just Above my Head."

This particular edition is well worth having--despite the price. First, this is a good collection of Baldwin's essays, many of which are difficult to find. Second, the Library of America really does a commendable job in paper quality and binding. This is not a leather bound edition on 50 pound paper, so stiff you can't open it and printed so the back binding looks impressive on your bookshelf--this is tightly bound, cardboard cover that lies flat, and is easy to read. The paper is not heavy--but acid free, and tear resistant. The Library of America series are good collections that are meant to be read many times, by many people--these books hold up very well.

I am afraid that Mr. Baldwin's works and opinions may fall by the wayside as time passes. The fact that Ms. Morrison--one of our best and most respected authors--put these collections together will certainly help keep Mr. Baldwin's works alive. But if you have any interest in what it means to be African American--in the twenties, to contemporary america--through even tomorrow--You need to read and appreciate Mr. Baldwin's insights. And you will also enjoy his clear, careful, and pointed writing.

review  May 10, 2002
This book was very interesting and i enjoyed the courage of a young black man to stand up for his rights.

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