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In his internationally acclaimed novels, short stories, plays and essays, James Baldwin was and remains a powerfully prophetic voice in the American literary landscape, fearlessly brooding upon issues such as race, sex, politics, and art. His literary achievement is a lasting legacy about what it means to be American.
Vintage Baldwin includes the short story “Sonny’s Blues”; the galvanizing civil rights examination “My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation”; the essays “Fifth Avenue, Uptown: A Letter from Harlem,” “The Discovery of What It Means to Be an American,” and “Nobody Knows My Name: A Letter from the South”; and excerpts from the novel Another Country and the play The Amen Corner.
Vintage Readers are a perfect introduction to some of the great modern writers presented in attractive, accessible paperback editions.
About the Author
James Baldwin (1924–1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, appeared in 1953 to excellent reviews, and his essay collections Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time were bestsellers that made him an influential figure in the growing civil rights movement. Baldwin spent much of his life in France, where he moved to escape the racism and homophobia of the United States. He died in France in 1987, a year after being made a Commander of the French Legion of Honor.
“If Van Gogh was our 19th-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our 20th-century one.” —Michael Ondaatje
“To be James Baldwin is to touch on so many hidden places in Europe, America, the Negro, the white man —to be forced to understand so much.” —Alfred Kazin
“This author retains a place in an extremely select group; that composed of the few genuinely indispensable American writers.” —Saturday Review
“He has not himself lost access to the sources of his being —which is what makes him read and awaited by perhaps a wider range of people than any other major American writer.” —The Nation
“He is thought-provoking, tantalizing, irritating, abusing and amusing. And he uses words as the sea uses waves, to flow and beat, advance and retreat, rise and take a bow in disappearing . . . the thought becomes poetry and the poetry illuminates thought.” —Langston Hughes
“He has become one of the few writers of our time.” —Norman Mailer