James Baldwin: Collected Essays (LOA #98): Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / The Devil Finds Work (Library of America James Baldwin Edition #1) (Hardcover)
How can I begin to describe what James Baldwin's writing does to me?
-Observes the world with such clarity that his sentences routinely make me fall out of my chair and cry
-Makes me want to start a cult with his writings as the core religious texts
-Is what I would call a bodhisattva
-Writes about so much more than race and politics (which is what he is typically known for)
-Is able to grasp everything all at once and turn his thoughts into the kind of eloquence that every writer yearns for and every reader becomes incapacitated by
If you've never read Baldwin before, or if you've only scratched the surface, get this collection and get out your highlighter or notebook. If I could only keep one book, this would be it.
P.S. I may have a slightly disturbing James Baldwin finger puppet magnet on my fridge right now.— From Clarisse
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.
LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
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.