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).
  • ''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).
  • ''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).
  • ''If the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons.''
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. "The Devil Finds Work," sct. 1, The Price of the Ticket (first publ. 1976, 1985).
  • ''No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, for the only time.''
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. (First published 1976). "The Devil Finds Work," sect. 1, The Price Of The Ticket (1985).
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Best Poem of James Baldwin

The giver (for Berdis) Related Poem Content Details

If the hope of giving
is to love the living,
the giver risks madness
in the act of giving.

Some such lesson I seemed to see
in the faces that surrounded me.

Needy and blind, unhopeful, unlifted,
what gift would give them the gift to be gifted?
The giver is no less adrift
than those who are clamouring for the gift.

If they cannot claim it, if it is not there,
if their empty fingers beat the empty air
and the giver goes down on his knees in prayer
knows that all of his giving has been for naught
and that nothing was ever ...

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