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APR 19: Classics Revisited

Classics Revisited

Where:  Henry Ford Centennial Library – Second Floor Ford Collection Room
When:  Wednesday, April 19, 7:00 – 8:00 pm


Go Tell it on the Mountain
by James Baldwin

Summary

” Mountain ,” Baldwin said, “is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.” Go Tell It On The Mountain , first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

Author Notes

James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924, in New York. Baldwin’s father was a pastor who subjected his children to poverty, abuse, and religious fanaticism. As a result, many of Baldwin’s recurring themes, such as alienation and rejection, are attributable to his upbringing.

Living the life of a starving artist, Baldwin went through numerous jobs, including dishwasher, office boy, factory worker, and waiter. In 1948, he moved to France, where much work originated. Baldwin published Go Tell It on the Mountain in 1953. A largely autobiographical work, it tells of the religious awakening of a fourteen-year-old. In addition to his childhood experiences, his experiences as a black man and a homosexual provided inspiration for such works as Giovanni’s Room, Nobody Knows My Name, and Another Country.

Baldwin holds a distinguished place in American history as one of the foremost writers of both black and gay literature. He was an active participant in the Civil Rights movement.

Baldwin succumbed to cancer on December 1, 1987.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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Other Selections Include:

September 21
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain

October 19
Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith

November 16
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

December 21
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich 

January 18
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

February 15
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

March 15
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

April 19
Go Tell It on the Mountian by James Baldwin

May 17
Confessions by St. Augustine


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