This collection of comparative critical and theoretical essays examines James Baldwin and Toni Morrison's reciprocal literary relationship. By reading these authors side-by-side, this collection forges new avenues of discovery and interpretation related to their representations of African American and American literature and cultural experience.
The Harlem-born son of a storefront preacher, James Baldwin died almost thirty years ago, but his spirit lives on in the eloquent and still-relevant musings of his novels, short stories, essays, and poems. What concerned him most - as a black man, as a gay man, as an American - were notions of isolation and disconnection at both the individual and communal level and a conviction that only in the transformative power of love could humanity find any hope of healing its spiritual and social wounds. In Understanding James Baldwin, Marc K. Dudley shows that a proper grasp of Baldwin's work begins with a grasp of the times in which he wrote. During a career spanning the civil rights movement and beyond, Baldwin stood at the heart of intellectual and political debate, writing about race, sexual identity, and gendered politics, while traveling the world to promote dialogue on those issues.
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