Literary Criticism online

James Baldwin (1924-1987)

A selective list of online literary criticism for African American writer James Baldwin, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources


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introduction & biography

"James Baldwin: 'Sonny's Blues.'" Audio lecture with slides, plus discussion questions and suggestions for writing on "Sonny's Blues," from the academic publisher A.B. Longmans (scroll down to "Baldwin").

"James Baldwin." An introduction, biography, and brief critical overview for James Baldwin, from educational publisher Pearson Literature.

"James Baldwin." A very brief introduction to James Baldwin from educational publisher Gale/Cengage.

"James Baldwin, The Art of Fiction." Baldwin's Paris Review interview. The Paris Review 91 (Spring 1984).

Fleischmann, Anne and Andy Jones. "'Sonny's Blues' Lecture." Includes a biography of James Baldwin, and extended commentary on "Sonny's Blues," the plot summary, characterization, imagery, themes, and social context. AP English class, Univ. of Calif. Davis.

Zaborowska, Magdalena J."James Baldwin." A substantial introduction to James Baldwin, from the Literary Encyclopedia, 25 Oct. 2002 [subscription service].

"James Baldwin." Brief biography of James Baldwin publisher from Random House.


literary criticism

Abur-Rahman, Aliyyah I. "Simply a menaced boy": analogizing color, undoing dominance in James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room. African American Review 41, 3 (Fall 2007) [questia subscription service].

de Romanet, Jerome. "Revisiting 'Madeleine' and 'The Outing': James Baldwin's revision of Gide's sexual politics." MELUS 22, 1 (Spring 1997) pp 3-14 [jstor preview or purchase].

Dunning, Stefanie. "Parallel perversions: interracial and same sexuality in James Baldwin's Another Country." MELUS 26, 4 (Winter 2001) [questia sub ser].

Dupee, F.W. "James Baldwin and the "Man.'" A discussion of James Baldwin's essays and a review of The Fire Next Time. NY Review of Books, 1 Feb. 1963.

Field, Douglas. "Looking for Jimmy Baldwin: Sex, Privacy, and Black Nationalist Fervor." Callaloo 27, 2 (Spring 2004) pp 457-80 [substantial excerpt, muse].

Miller, Elise. "The 'maw of western culture': James Baldwin and the anxieties of influence." African American Review 38, 4 (Winter 2004) pp 625-36 [questia sub ser].

Norman, Brian. "Reading a 'closet screenplay': Hollywood, James Baldwin's Malcolms and the threat of historical irrelevance." On an unproduced screenplay by Baldwin about Malcolm X. African American Review 39, 1/2 (Spring-Summer 2005) pp 103-18 [questia sub ser].

Norman, Brian. "James Baldwin's confrontation with US imperialism in If Beale Street Could Talk." MELUS 32, 1 (March 2007) [first page only, jstor].

Olson, Barbara K. "'Come-to-Jesus Stuff' in James Baldwin's Go tell It on the Mountain and The Amen Corner." African American Review 39, 2 (Summer 1997) pp 309-12 [questia sub ser].

Shin, Andrew; and Barbara Hudson. "Beneath the Black aesthetic: James Baldwin's primer of Black American masculinity." African American Review 32, 2 (Summer 1998) pp 247-61 [questia sub ser].

Taylor, Douglas. "Three Lean Cats in a Hall of Mirrors: James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, and Eldridge Cleaver on Race and Masculinity." On the writings of these three authors, during the 1950s and 1960s, that explored the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality in the U.S.: Baldwin's Another Country and "The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy"; Mailer's "The White Negro"; and Cleaver's Soul on Ice. In Texas Studies in Literature and Language 52, 1 (Spring 2010) [free article, muse].

Tomlinson, Robert. "'Payin' one's dues': expatriation as personal experience and paradigm in the works of James Baldwin." African American Review 33, 1 (Spring 1999) [questia sub ser].


teaching resources

A Teacher's Guide to James Baldwin, contributing editors: Trudier Harris and John Reilly, from textbook publisher Heath.

A discussion guide for two Baldwin novels: Nobody Knows My Name and The Fire Next Time, from Random House Academic.

Teaching resources for James Baldwin created by C-Span, for their 2002 American Writers series.


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