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James Baldwin


James Baldwin
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James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic.

Baldwin's essays, such as the collection Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America, and their inevitable if unnameable tensions with personal identity, assumptions, uncertainties, yearning, and questing. Some Baldwin essays are book-length, for instance The Fire Next Time (1963), No Name in the Street (1972), and The Devil Finds Work (1976).

His novels and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and ... more »

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  • ''The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.''
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. repr. In The Price of the Ticket (1985). "The Creative Process," (1962).
  • Words like "freedom," "justice," "democracy" are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to...
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. repr. In The Price of the Ticket (1985). "The Crusade of Indignation," Nation (New York, July 7, 1956).
  • ''We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours.''
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. repr. In The Price of the Ticket (1985). "The Crusade of Indignation," Nation (New York, July 7, 1956).
  • The secret lies, I think, in his intimate knowledge of the people he is addressing be they black or white, and in the forthrightness with which he speaks of those things which hurt and baffle them.......
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. repr. In The Price of the Ticket (1985). "The Dangerous Road Before Martin Luther King," Harper's (New York, F...
  • ''There is a "sanctity" involved with bringing a child into this world: it is better than bombing one out of it.''
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. First published (1976). "The Devil Finds Work," sct. 1, The Price of the Ticket (1985).
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