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JAMES BALDWIN

KENAN, Randall

1 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 079102301X / ISBN 13: 9780791023013
Published by Chelsea House, NY, 1994
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About this Item

8vo, pp. 143. List of works, further reading, chronology, index. Illustrated wtih photographs. [Lives of notable gay men and lesbians.] Paper over boards. A nice copy in dj. A biography. Bookseller Inventory # 53496

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Bibliographic Details

Title: JAMES BALDWIN

Publisher: Chelsea House, NY

Publication Date: 1994

Edition: First printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

James Baldwin (August 2, 1924 - December 1, 1987) was an African American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. Baldwin's novels and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures thwarting the equitable integration of not only blacks, but also of gay and bisexual men. Such dynamics are prominent in Baldwin's second novel, written well before gay equality was widely espoused in America: Giovanni's Room (1956). Baldwin's first novel, "Go Tell It on the Mountain," is said to be his best-known work.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 9 Up-A comprehensive look at Baldwin's life and times. Kenan begins with a chapter-long description of a significant incident in his subject's life-a 1963 trip to Selma to aid in the black voter registration drive. Unfortunately, the author's conscientious provision of background information on the civil rights movement ultimately obscures Baldwin's part in that drama; thus, what should have been an interest-stimulating picture of a defining moment becomes an 11-page introduction. In chapter two, readers finally begin to get a picture of the world-renowned writer, political activist, and black gay man. The text is based on a wealth of published sources and includes frequent quotes drawn from Baldwin's works and his other biographers. This wealth (plus the absence of footnotes, which dictates that all source citations be made within the text itself) results in a dense narrative that may daunt some readers. The book's attractive format, however, reflects good choices for a YA audience, with numerous black-and-white photos, a list of Baldwin's works and a list for further reading, and a fairly detailed index. While the series title might suggest an exclusive focus on his sexual identity, this biography simply adds that perspective to the existing mosaic of his life with a candor that reflects Baldwin's own self-presentation. Previous studies written for young people make no mention of his sexual orientation. Kenan's book acts as a corrective, and libraries that already stock Lisa Rosset's James Baldwin (Chelsea, 1989) may want to acquire this one as well. It introduces young people to this eloquent witness to an individual and collective American minority experience.
Christine Jenkins, University of Illinois, Champaign
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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