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James Baldwin: Collected Essays: Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name /: (Library of America #98) (Anglais) Relié – 1 février 1998


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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.

Biographie de l'auteur

Toni Morrison, volume editor, is the author of a number of award-winning novels, including Love, Jazz, Beloved, Song of Solomon, Sula, and The Bluest Eye. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.


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"IN UNCLE TOM'S Cabin, that cornerstone of American social protest fiction, St. Clare, the kindly master, remarks to his coldly disapproving Yankee cousin, Miss Ophelia, that, so far as he is able to tell, the blacks have been turned over to the devil for t" Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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33 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A great book -- A worthy part of a great series 23 février 2004
Par "efoff" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
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.
34 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A painful, powerful experience 10 octobre 2001
Par Charlotte A. Hu - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
In Egypt, I met an extraordinary American.
"I was born in New York, but have only lived in pockets of it. In Paris, I lived in all parts of the city - on the Right Bank and on the Left, among the bourgeoisie and among les miserables, and knew all kinds of people from pimps and prostitutes in Pigalle to Egyptian bankers in Nueilly. This may sound unprincipled or even obscurely immoral: I found it healthy. I love to talk to people, all kinds of people, and almost everyone, as I hope we still know, loves a man who loves to listen," he said.
"The perpetual dealing with people very different from myself caused a shattering in me of preconceptions I scarcely knew I held. This reassessment, which can be very painful, is also very valuable."
His name is Mr. Baldwin, and I cherish this new acquaintance because his ideas have had such profound impact on my views of Egypt. I wanted to know the people, but as I reach out for them, sometimes, I'm shocked by what I see. I see people sleeping on the concrete patios along the Nile - many of them have migrated from the farmlands because they can make more money for their families if they work in Cairo. But desert nights can be bitter cold in January, and it cuts my heart. Yet, Mr. Baldwin's message is well heeded. The same problems of inner city growth that come with development in Egypt also came with development in Britain one hundred years ago. American inner city schools and slums still reflect this challenge.
Would I have walked into the slums of Chicago if I were there? Would I have strolled through the southwest side of Kansas City or east St. Louis? Would I have walked into the anti-developing city blocks of L.A. if I were in America? Of course not. So why is it that traveling abroad opens my eyes to poverty in America? Why couldn't I see it when I was there? I don't know why this happens, but James Baldwin was right - absolutely right when he said that this reassessment, which can be very painful is also very valuable.
I have been told that the housing shortage in Egypt provided the impetus for many people to move into the spacious mausoleums in the old city graveyard. The international visitors call it, "The City of the Dead," and tourists go there and gawk at poverty creating a makeshift freak show out of human suffering. Then I learned that the housing shortage in Los Angeles provided the impetus for many people to move into mausoleums, but no one goes to gawk at them. In fact, there seems to be a kind of American denial that such things could ever happen in the land of milk and honey.
As I hear of people talking about human rights violations in Egypt, I think of the title of James Baldwin's book: Nobody Knows My Name. I think of James Byrd who was dragged to death behind a pickup truck. I think of the threats of millennium violence that frightened black American families so much that they bought guns and stayed home for the New Year. I think of the tiny city in Texas who voted Spanish as their city's official language and then received death threats from all over the nation. Of course, if you asked any American about human rights violations, they would tell you that this is something that happens in China or Africa. It's a painful realization that it might happen in MY country. Growing up in the American school system, I came to idolize Abraham Lincoln's courage and George Washington's integrity. The universal ideas of human value and dignity that we believe to be inalienable are not, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so wisely told us, being applied universally in our country. These facts go against the ideals and values of our nation - they don't support the concepts of the free and the brave.
"It is a complex fate to be an American," Henry James observed. James Baldwin awakened me to that complexity in a way so subtle, so gentle and yet, so powerfully painful.
He awakened me to the hard realities of the American people, most of whom will never read or digest his work. They would dismiss him. But his vision is not to be dismissed. His writing illustrates that the responsibility of this future lies in the hands of blind people. People who refuse to see American neighborhoods and American people for what they really are. We can't improve until we accept the starting point. This lofty ideal of what we should be and blind obstinacy to what we are is killing us.
"Europe has what we do not have yet," Baldwin said. "A sense of the mysterious and inexorable limits of life, a sense, in a word, of tragedy. And we have what they sorely need: a new sense of life's possibilities."
Egypt has what we do not yet have - a clear and present sense of unity - an admiration for sacrifice for the whole of the group - the nuclear family, the extended family, the community. And we have absolutely nothing that Egypt needs, except, if you ask the younger generation: Nike shoes. In fact, this is precisely what Egyptians do not need. They do not need the destructive, greed-inspiring and greed-glorifying economic development of the West.
"In this endeavor to wed the vision of the Old World with that of the New, it is the writer, not the statesman, who is our strongest arm. Though we do not wholly believe it yet, the interior life is a real life, and the intangible dreams of people have tangible effect on the world." - James Baldwin
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
magnificent 6 juillet 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
A beautiful, powerful and passionate book that deserves a place in the library, to be returned to time and again. Baldwin is a polemicist of rare quality, inspiring with the quality of his argument and prose. The Library of America has packaged this work, like its others, in a fine quality, sturdy edition (notice how many times I mentioned quality?).
12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Like Nothing Else You've Read 3 juin 2005
Par Michael Saltzman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
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.
12 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fantastic 12 juillet 2000
Par MamaMorgs - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
People who already like Baldwin will not have to be sold on a volume that contains all his essays. This is an incredible resource to have. My only quibble is that the book is not indexed. With a Nobel laureate as an editor, one would expect such a rudimentary tool. Those who have heard about Baldwin's powerful prose but who are afraid that they will be bored should cast aside those doubts. This collection is easily readable from cover to cover. Essays on equality for black Americans are not simply of historical interest as Baldwin displays in such essays his basically humanistic philosophy which can apply universally. Get your notebook out to take down all his fabulous quotes. Okay, now buy the book!
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