This stunningly personal document and extraordinary history of the turbulent sixties and early seventies displays James Baldwin's fury and despair more deeply than any of his other works. In vivid detail he remembers the Harlem childhood that shaped his early conciousness, the later events that scored his heart with pain--the murders of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, his sojourns in Europe and in Hollywood, and his retum to the American South to confront a violent America face-to-face.
14 characters / 8-14 females or mixed cast 35 minutes Scenery: bare stage A play about Holy Week, dramatic and powerful in its simplicity. The events leading up to the Crucifixion are seen by a mother searching for her son. When she comes to the Cross, she asks forgiveness, and we find she is not the mother of Jesus, as we had been led to believe, but the mother of Judas. The surprise is no mere theatrical trick, but the whole point of the play. "Are you not betrayers too?" she asks the players and the audience. The play is a tournament winner in Great Britain, a popular work in American church groups, and has been televised to great acclaim.
Adored by many, appalling to some, baffling still to others, few authors defy any single critical narrative to the confounding extent that James Baldwin manages. Was he a black or queer writer? Was he a religious or secular writer? Was he a spokesman for the civil rights movement or a champion of the individual? His critics, as disparate as his readership, endlessly wrestle with paradoxes, not just in his work but also in the life of a man who described himself as "all those strangers called Jimmy Baldwin" and who declared that "all theories are suspect." Viewing Baldwin through a cultural-historical lens alongside a more traditional literary critical approach, All Those Strangers examines how his fiction and nonfiction shaped and responded to key political and cultural developments in the United States from the 1940s to the 1980s. Showing how external forces molded Baldwin's personal, political, and psychological development, Douglas Field breaks through the established critical difficulties caused by Baldwin's geographical, ideological, and artistic multiplicity by analyzing his life and work against the radically transformative politics of his time. The book explores under-researched areas in Baldwin's life and work, including his relationship to the Left, his FBI files, and the significance of Africa in his writing, while also contributing to wider discussions about postwar US culture. Field deftly navigates key twentieth-century themes-the Cold War, African American literary history, conflicts between spirituality and organized religion, and transnationalism-to bring a number of isolated subjects into dialogue with each other. By exploring the paradoxes in Baldwin's development as a writer, rather than trying to fix his life and work into a single framework, All Those Strangers contradicts the accepted critical paradigm that Baldwin's life and work are too ambiguous to make sense of. By studying him as an individual and an artist in flux, Field reveals the manifold ways in which Baldwin's work develops and coheres.
Apocalypse shapes the experience of millions of Americans. Not because they face imminent cataclysm, however true this is, but because apocalypse is a story they tell themselves. It offers a way out of an otherwise irredeemably unjust world. Adherence to it obscures that it is a story, rather than a description of reality. And it is old. Since its origins among Jewish writers in the first centuries BCE, apocalypse has recurred as a tempting and available form through which to express a sense of hopelessness. Why has it appeared with such force in the US now? What does it mean? This book argues that to find the meaning of our apocalyptic times we need to look at the economics of the last five decades, from the end of the postwar boom. After historian Robert Brenner, this volume calls this period the long downturn. Though it might seem abstract, the economics of the long downturn worked its way into the most intimate experiences of everyday life, including the fear that there would be no tomorrow, and this fear takes the form of 'neoliberal apocalypse'. The varieties of neoliberal apocalypse—horror at the nation's commitment to a racist, exclusionary economic system; resentment about threats to white supremacy; apprehension that the nation has unleashed a violence that will consume it; claustrophobia within the limited scripts of neoliberalism; suffocation under the weight of debt—together form the discordant chord that hums under American life in the twenty-first century. For many of us, for different reasons, it feels like the end is coming soon and this book explores how we came to this, and what it has meant for literature.
Yoshinobu Hakutani traces the development of African American modernism, which initially gathered momentum with Richard Wright's literary manifesto "Blueprint for Negro Writing" in 1937. Hakutani dissects and discusses the cross-cultural influences on the then-burgeoning discipline in three stages: American dialogues, European and African cultural visions, and Asian and African American cross-cultural visions.
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title Flourishing in the United States during the 1940s and 50s, the bleak, violent genre of filmmaking known as film noir reflected the attitudes of writers and auteur directors influenced by the events of the turbulent mid-twentieth century. Films such as Force of Evil, Night and the City, Double Indemnity, Laura, The Big Heat, The Killers, Kiss Me Deadly and, more recently, Chinatown and The Grifters are indelibly American. Yet the sources of this genre were found in Germany and France and imported to Hollywood by emigré filmmakers, who developed them and allowed a vibrant genre to flourish. Andrew Dickos's Street with No Name traces the film noir genre back to its roots in German Expressionist cinema and the French cinema of the interwar years. Dickos describes the development of the film noir in America from 1941 through the 1970s and examines how this development expresses a modern cinema. Dickos examines notable directors such as Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, John Huston, Nicholas Ray, Robert Aldrich, Samuel Fuller, Otto Preminger, Robert Siodmak, Abraham Polonsky, Jules Dassin, Anthony Mann and others. He also charts the genre's influence on such celebrated postwar French filmmakers as Jean-Pierre Melville, François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard. Addressing the aesthetic, cultural, political, and social concerns depicted in the genre, Street with No Name demonstrates how the film noir generates a highly expressive, raw, and violent mood as it exposes the ambiguities of modern postwar society.
In this honest and stunning novel, now a major motion picture directed by Barry Jenkins, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions–affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.
While one of the central drives in classic American letters has been a reflexive desire to move away from the complexity and supposed corruption of cities toward such idealized nonurban settings as Cooper's prairies, Thoreau's woods, Melville's seas, Whitman's open road, and Twain's river, nearly the opposite has been true in African-American letters. Indeed the main tradition of African-American literature has been, for the most part, strikingly positive in its vision of the city. Although never hesitant to criticize the negative aspects of city life, classic African-American writers have only rarely suggested that pastoral alternatives exist for African-Americans and have therefore celebrated in a great variety of ways the possibilities of urban living. For Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Ralph Ellison, the city, despite its many problems, has been a place of deliverance and renewal. In the words of Alain Locke, the city provided "a new vision of opportunity" for African-Americans that could enable them to move from an enslaving "medieval" world to a modern world containing the possibility of liberation. More recent African-American literature has also been noteworthy for its largely affirmative vision of urban life. Amiri Baraka's 1981 essay "Black Literature and the Afro-American Nation: The Urban Voice" argues that, from the Harlem Renaissance onward, African-American literature has been "urban shaped," producing a uniquely "black urban consciousness." And Toni Morrison, although stressing that the American city in general has often induced a sense of alienation in many African-American writers, nevertheless adds that modern African-American literature is suffused with an "affection" for "the village within" the city. Gwendolyn Brook's poetry and Gloria Naylor's fiction, likewise, celebrate this sense of cultural unity in the black city. In addition to these writers, the sixteen new essays in this collection discuss the works of Claude McKay, William Attaway, Willard Motley, Ann Petry, John A. Williams, Charles Johnson, Samuel R. Delany, Ed Bullins, Adrienne Kennedy, and Lorraine Hansberry. The authors of these essays range from critics in America to those abroad, as well as from specialists in African-American literature to those in other fields.
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.
Containing the Old and New Testaments: the Text Carefully Printed from the Most Correct Copies of the Present Authorized Translation. Including the Marginal Readings and Parallel Texts. With a Commentary and Critical Notes, Designed as a Help to a Better Understanding of the Sacred Writings