Frasi James Arthur Baldwin

„The roles that we construct are constructed because we feel that they will help us to survive and also, of course, because they fulfill something in our personalities; and one does not, therefore, cease playing a role simply because one has begun to understand it.“

—  James Baldwin

"The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy" in Esquire (May 1961)
Contesto: The roles that we construct are constructed because we feel that they will help us to survive and also, of course, because they fulfill something in our personalities; and one does not, therefore, cease playing a role simply because one has begun to understand it. All roles are dangerous. The world tends to trap you in the role you play and it is always extremely hard to maintain a watchful, mocking distance between oneself as one appears to be and oneself as one actually is.

„One must say Yes to life, and embrace it wherever it is found - and it is found in terrible places.“

—  James Baldwin

From Nothing Personal, a collaboration with the photographer Richard Avedon (1964). Baldwin's text for the volume can be found " here https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1042&context=cibs".
Contesto: One must say Yes to life, and embrace it wherever it is found - and it is found in terrible places. … For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.

„The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately“

—  James Baldwin

From chapter one of The Devil Finds Work (orig. pub. 1976), reprinted in The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985
Contesto: The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their "vital interests" are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the "sanctity" of human life, or the "conscience" of the civilized world.

„I began plotting novels at about the time I learned to read.“

—  James Baldwin

Autobiographical Notes (1952)
Contesto: I began plotting novels at about the time I learned to read. The story of my childhood is the usual bleak fantasy, and we can dismiss it with the restrained observation that I certainly would not consider living it again.

„Art has to be a kind of confession.“

—  James Baldwin

"An interview with James Baldwin" (1961); an interview with Studs Terkel published in Conversations With James Baldwin (1989)
Contesto: Art has to be a kind of confession. I don't mean a true confession in the sense of that dreary magazine. The effort it seems to me, is: if you can examine and face your life, you can discover the terms with which you are connected to other lives, and they can discover them, too — the terms with which they are connected to other people.

„Art would not be important if life were not important, and life is important.“

—  James Baldwin

"An interview with James Baldwin" (1961)
Contesto: You read something which you thought only happened to you, and you discover that it happened 100 years ago to Dostoyevsky. This is a very great liberation for the suffering, struggling person, who always thinks that he is alone. This is why art is important. Art would not be important if life were not important, and life is important.

„I knew Richard [Wright] and I loved him.“

—  James Baldwin

Interview with Julius Lester, "James Baldwin: Reflections of a Maverick" http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/29/specials/baldwin-reflections.html in The New York Times (27 May 1984)
Contesto: I knew Richard [Wright] and I loved him. [... ] I was not attacking him; I was trying to clarify something for myself.

„All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story, to vomit the anguish up.“

—  James Baldwin

"The Precarious Vogue of Ingmar Bergman" in Esquire (April 1960); republished as "The Northern Protestant" in Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son (1961) and in The Price of the Ticket (1985)

„I don't like people who like me because I'm a Negro; neither do I like people who find in the same accident grounds for contempt. I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. I think all theories are suspect, that the finest principles may have to be modified, or may even be pulverized by the demands of life, and that one must find, therefore, one's own moral center and move through the world hoping that this center will guide one aright.“

—  James Baldwin

Autobiographical Notes (1952)
Contesto: I don't like people who like me because I'm a Negro; neither do I like people who find in the same accident grounds for contempt. I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. I think all theories are suspect, that the finest principles may have to be modified, or may even be pulverized by the demands of life, and that one must find, therefore, one's own moral center and move through the world hoping that this center will guide one aright. I consider that I have many responsibilities, but none greater than this: to last, as Hemingway says, and get my work done.
I want to be an honest man and a good writer.

„Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.“

—  James Baldwin

"Fifth Avenue, Uptown: a Letter from Harlem" in Esquire (July 1960); republished in Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son (1961)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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