Conversations With James Baldwin Literary Conversations

10 thoughts on “Conversations With James Baldwin Literary Conversations Series

  1. John John says:

    It's interestingI could be wrong but I don't think Baldwin considered himself a Christian per se But the attitude he reflects in many situations is totally Christian When faced with raw racism he isn't overcome with an all consuming desire for revenge But rather he reflects on the sorry state of human relations and the sordid upbringing of people that result in feelings of ignorance and prejudice In other words he feels sincerely sorry for those who are so warped that they feel wholesale irrational hatred towards an entire race In Notes of a Native Son he relates an incident that pushed him over the brink but that was early in his life and a rare exception He is an elouent writer who is passionate about getting his message across

  2. Jeremy Williams Jeremy Williams says:

    a wonderful collection of interviews and articles displaying Baldwin's consistency of thought philosophy and critical engagement with the American racial dilemma A must read for anyone seriously interested in the life and times of an American icon

  3. Cisily Cisily says:

    i love this book if you ever wondered just how much Baldwin understands human behavior all you have to do is read this book

  4. Pau Pau says:

    I loved everything about this James Baldwin really means so much to me Some important excerpts from this which will probably stay with me forever“All art is a kind of confession or less obliue All artists if they are to survive are forced at last to tell the whole story to vomit the anguish up The effort it seems to me is if you can examine and face your life you can discover the terms with which you are connected to other lives and they can discover too the terms with which they are connected to other people This has happened to everyone of us I’m sure You read something which you thought only happened to you and you discovered it happened 100 years ago to Dostoyevsky This is a very great liberation for the suffering struggling person who always thinks that he is alone This is why art is important Art wouldn’t be important if life were not important and life is important”“I’m not a believer in any sense which would make sense to any church and any church would obviously throw me out I believe—what do I believe? I believe in I believe in love—that sounds very corny I believe we can save each other In fact I think we must save each other I don’t depend on anyone else to do it I don’t mean anything passive by love I mean something active something like a fire like the wind something which can change you I mean energy I mean a passionate belief a passionate knowledge of what a human being can do and become what a human being can do to change the world in which he finds himself”“I’m terrified at the moral apathy—the death of the heart which is happening in my country These people have deluded themselves so long that they really don’t think I’m human I base this in their conduct and not on what they say and this means that they have become in themselves moral monsters”

  5. Yordanos Yordanos says:

    Since first reading “The Last Conversation with James Baldwin” I have come to admire him and seek out his speeches debates other recorded conversations etc than his written works His elouence both in thought and language his evolution as a writer thinker man and admirably his consistency through out the years — it’s simply inspiringThis extensive collection of conversations allowed me to see and discover of James Baldwin than anything I have read of or by him so far In addition to all the beautiful and powerful things I’ve known and loved about him for years I also got to see the flaws sad ironies disconnects etc of his journey This of course didn’t lessen my admiration for him; rather it offered a fuller humanity of Jimmy BaldwinInterestingly and annoyingly enough most of these interviews asked about why he left America underneath some of these uestions lay a resentment a weakly disguised objective to devalue his criticismsargumentswritings in general about the American problem because he ‘left it behind’as if an extended period of physical absence severs all ties or revokes any right to take a critical look at what was left behind I reject and resent this view As Jimmy explains with which I fully agree from personal experience “If I hadn’t gone away I would never have been able to see it and if I was unable to see it I would never have been able to forgive it”The American hubris that centers the US and the American experience as a focus and savior of the rest of the world is also sadly present here esp in the early interviews Thankfully this transforms over the years as Jimmy’s encounters with the world expand particularly after his milieu in the Civil Rights movement or the 1960s slave insurrection as he prefers to call it and travels to Africa A favorite conversation from this collection is his dialogue with Chinua Achebe on defining an AfricanBlack aesthetic A lot of thought provoking gems from a meeting of such minds; eg “Art is unashamedly unembarrasingly if there is such a word social It is economic The total life of man is reflected in his artthose who tell you “Do not put too much politics in your art” are not being honest If you look very carefully you will see that they are the same people who are uite happy with the situation as it is What they are saying is not don’t introduce politics What they are saying is don’t upset the system They are just as political as any of us It’s only that they are on the other side” This conversation happened mere 38 years ago; it’s incredibly timeless and timely I’m acutely aware of our collective loss in Jimmy’s and Chinua’s permanent physicalabsence though their works continue to stay relevant and inspire a new generation of witnessesI can’t recommend James Baldwin’s works enough; than his novelsplaysessays or along with them I should say I’d recommend readingwatching his interviews This specific collection is an excellent place to start

  6. Gwen Gwen says:

    When it comes to Baldwin's interviews I think I prefer watching and listening to them to reading them Tone is so important in an interview and it doesn't come across as well in written form I appreciate these interviews because they flesh out his thoughts on some of his books and they show some of the fire he had especially in the interview with the English man it seems like in written form they just spent an hour yelling at each other I think the problem I had with this book is actually mentioned in the introduction Many of the ideas and themes are repeated over and over again in the interviews If anything I come out impressed at how consistent Baldwin was in his answers over the yearsFor people that are really into James Baldwin I would recommend this For people just getting into him I would say start with his fiction or essays and work up to this down the road

  7. Shubhangi Agarwalla Shubhangi Agarwalla says:

    Speaking to the most heartbreaking and pernicious way in which all bigotry infiltrates the psyche and shrinks it from the inside Baldwin and Achebe ruminate on the long erotic unended wrestling of art and politics What I particularly enjoyed however was the dialogue between Baldwin and Giovanni on the complexities of race and what it means to be an empowered human being That this time capsule of genius and prescience has fallen out of print is a tragic testament to the commercialist rift between the profit of culture and the value of culture

  8. Dave Dave says:

    I can think of no late 20th century literary figure with nuance and foresight into the subject of America than James Baldwin who to the extent that in baffling his contemporaries was able to blow the future wide open This is a great collection of his dialogues and interviews where he has dropped pearl after pearl of heavy truth I had a fantastic time reading it

  9. Carla Kapeskas Carla Kapeskas says:

    This book offers great insight into Baldwin’s mind and spirit I enjoyed it


    James has become my favorite You really get insight into his mind while also learning some of his writing practices

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Conversations With James Baldwin Literary Conversations Series This collection of interviews with James Baldwin covers the period 1961 1987 from the year of the publication of Nobody Knows My Names his fourth book to just a few weeks before his death It includes the last formal conversation with himTwenty seven interviews reprinted here come from a variety of sources newspapers radio journals and review and show this celebrated author in all his elouence anger and perception of racial social and literary situations in AmericaOver the years Baldwin proved to be an easily accessible and cooperative subject for interviews both in the United States and abroad He freuently referred to himself as a kind of trans Atlantic commuter Whether candidly discussing his own ghetto origins his literary mission and achievements his role in the civil rights movement or his views on world affairs black and white relations Vietnam Christianity and fellow writers Baldwin was always both popular and controversialThis importa

  • Paperback
  • 312 pages
  • Conversations With James Baldwin Literary Conversations Series
  • James Baldwin
  • English
  • 18 June 2015
  • 9780878053896

About the Author: James Baldwin

See this thread for informationJames Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist essayist playwright poet and social criticJames Baldwin offered a vital literary voice during the era of civil rights activism in the 1950s and '60s He was the eldest of nine children; his stepfather was a minister At age 14 Baldwin became a preacher at the small Fireside Pentecostal Church in Harlem In the early 1940s he transferred his faith from religion to literature Critics however note the impassioned cadences of Black churches are still evident in his writing