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Annotated biography of James Baldwin

Randall Kenan. “The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings by James Baldwin” (August 24, 2010) Pantheon.

This book basically explains what the collection of James Baldwin’s The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings is all about. The collection contains speeches and essays alike brought together and combined in a single book. The contents are mainly educational material and cover such topics as racism, past and present American literature and also educating black children. They contain among others Mass culture, some personal notes, creative writing and he also goes ahead to discuss different novelists of his time. In this way, Baldwin is portrayed as a teacher, preacher and also a smart person in his times.

In his review, Randall Kenan, a renowned novelists and book reviewer, James Baldwin is portrayed as a very good novelist who will express his feelings without fear and also tend to go for what he wants. His brave writings and discussions of other different novelist is very amazing. He also looks at the different aspects of language as used at that time and also examines the evolution of these dialects, especially in the black community.

This source is a very simple straight forward and it vividly brings out James Baldwin’s character. It can be recommended to readers who desire to know more about novel authors and their history.

Bigsby, C. W. E. The Committed Writer: James Baldwin as Dramatist Vol. 13, No. 1 (Apr., 1967), pp. 39-48

In this biograpgy by Bigsby C. W. E., James Baldwin is described as a dramatist as the title suggests. This is in reference to his work entitled ‘The Native son’, which basically brings out his roots as having been born in Harlem. James Baldwin’s intention was basically to emancipate humanity from the narrow view of life that they had (pp. 39). And in his later publications, he ruffled some feathers and caused some friction, with for example Wright. Bigsby C. W. E., a Twentieth Century Literature analyst, evaluates the works of Baldwin and compares them to his way of life. This is an easy to understand piece of work and it will go a long way to aid my presentation in that Baldwin’s character is brought out clearly. For those who would like to know about Baldwin’s charcter and perspective, this is the book for them.

Mabe, Chauncey. Baldwin's Harlem: A Biography by Herb Boyd (22 February 2008) South Florida Sun-Sentinel (MCT)

Chauncey Mabe analyzes the skill of James Baldwin as a novelist. In his book Baldwin’s Harlem, ambition and experimentation is evaluated. It basically brings aiut his character relative to the Harlem neighborhood where he was born and brought up. Boyd examoines Baldwin ‘s childhood character and behaviour as sensitive and odd-lloking and not fitting in the setting. However, in this piece of work, Boyd increasingly critisizes Baldwin for hi actions in discussing the authors who mentored him, and portraying Harlem as a cornerstone of hi life’s upbringing. Although this is not the case throughout, he sometimes highlights the strong points in Baldwin’s life. This is a very good critique of Baldwin and brings out his weaknesses and negatives. This work can be recommeded to those non-fiction lovers interested in Baldwins’s background check.

Rasbury, Angeli R. Go Tell it on the Mountain (September 26, 1995) Modern Library; New Ed edition publishe in Sacred Fire.

Angeli Rasbury notes that the James Baldwin’s novel “Go Tell It on the Mountain” is considered as one of his greatest works. He notes also that this novel draws much of its development on Baldwin’s childhood experience and upbringing in the slums of Harlem, thereby bringing out inspiration to his writings. In this novel, aspects of racism, sexual orientation as being gay , religious doubt and a rough experience with his complicated father while growing up are embedded. Featuring John Grimes, this book is in three parts where Johns horrific experiences are shared in part one, his parent’s difficult experiences in part two and finally his yielding to religious ways in part three. It has numerous biblical references evoking the black church. This is a straight forward book and illustrates the life of James Baldwin.

Blues for Mister Charlie

This is a play written by James Baldwin to depict the way the perceived the white man, that is ‘Mr. Charlie’. It is a play based on the story of a young black man, Emmet Till who was murdered in 1955 in Mississippi. In this set up, the strength of the black man in that generation is developed. That is the establishment of the Negro’s full manhood in the country. Basically set up in the American South in the 1960’s when there was terror on blacks. It depicts the trial, consequences and results of a white man that executed killings of blacks. Basically, ‘the blues’ depicts the song that is sung to the white man representing the punishment for his actions. An explosive play involving different characters to depict different people in the society, ‘Blues for Mister Charlie’ is a must read. This play allows people room for focusing on issues such as race, Christianity and also sex.  Also, it has been structured and made into plays acted indifferent places. This book is recommended for theatre lovers.

Book Jacket. Giovanni's Room (June 2000), Dell Publishing Company, Incorporated
James Baldwin’s ‘Giovanni's Room’ is a non-fictional work sample that talks about a young man’s struggle with his sexual bias and identity. Being born naturally as a man, this young man finds himself trapped in a situation where he has to choose which direction to take, either to be straight or to be gay. At one point, he finds himself inlove with a young woman and proposes marriage. But at the same time, he has peculiar sexual desires which land him into an affair with a bartender! Therefore ha has to juggle in between the two. This jeopardizes his view of the conventional normal American lifestyle and sexual orientation. Bascally, James Baldwin’s struggle with sexuality is brought out in this piece of work and the review by book Jacket sums it up all. A classical gay literature depiction set in the 1950s.


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