by James Baldwin, Toni Morrison (Editor)
Novelist, essayist, and public intellectual, James Baldwin was one of the most brilliant and provocative literary figures of the postwar era, and one of the greatest African-American writers of this century. A self-described "transatlantic commuter" who spent much of his life in France, Baldwin joined a cosmopolitan sophistication to a fierce engagement with social issues. Early Novels and Stories presents the novels and short stories that established Baldwin's reputation as a writer who fused unblinking realism and rare verbal eloquence. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), tells the story, rooted in Baldwin's own experience, of a preacher's son coming of age in 1930's Harlem. Giovanni's Room (1956) is a searching, and in its day controversial, treatment of the tragic self-delusions of a young American expatriate at war with his own homosexuality. Another Country (1962), a wide-ranging exploration of America's racial and sexual boundaries, depicts the suicide of a gifted jazz musician and its ripple effect on those who knew him. Going To Meet the Man (1965) collects Baldwin's short fiction, including the masterful "Sonny's Blues," the unforgettable portrait of a jazz musician struggling with drug addiction in which Baldwin came closest to defining his goal as a writer.
Early Novels and Stories features the complete text of Baldwin's novels Go Tell It On the Mountain, Giovanni's Room, Another Country, and his short story collection Going To Meet the Man. Most of Baldwin's writing is autobiographical and deals with his coming of age as a black man in America and later as an expatriate in France, as well as coming to terms with his homosexuality. Written between 1953 and 1965, these stories broke down walls. Collected Essays offers an impressive array of Baldwin's nonfiction and includes nine essays never before collected. Presented here are the complete texts of the collections Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, and The Devil Finds Work. Topics range from racism to literature to social issues. Along with corrected texts, these feature scholarly notes, a chronicle of the author's life, and more. Both volumes are essential for all collections.
In 1953, a young James Baldwin published Go Tell It on the Mountain, winning acclaim as a literary star and one of the leading voices of the African-American experience. Although Baldwin would spend the bulk of his adult life in France, his writing always addressed the complexities at the heart of America, viewed through the lens of the consummate outsider.
Hardcover: 992 pages