Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin : with a New Afterword

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University of California Press, 1991 - Biography & Autobiography - 326 pages
6 Reviews
"James Baldwin was one of America's finest and most influential writers. By the time he died, his books, such as The Fire Next Time, Go Tell It on the Mountain and Giovanni's Room, had become modern classics. James Campbell knew Baldwin for ten years before Baldwin's death in 1987. Based on interviews with his friends and his extensive correspondences, Talking at the Gates gives a full life of Baldwin, including his sometimes turbulent relationships with Norman Mailer, Richard Wright and Marlon Brando, as well as his friendship with Martin Luther King Jr. Elegantly written, candid and original, it is a comprehensive account of the life and work of a writer who believed that 'the unexamined life is not worth living. 'Baldwin's best biographer.' New York Times Book Review 'Approaching Baldwin without reverence, though not quite irreverently, Campbell brings a mixture of intellectual integrity and something like truculence to the biographer's task. ... [He] plays along effectively with Baldwin's great zest for life, his love of the comic, his self-deprecating, balancing knowledge of himself as both poseur and prophet."--Times Literary SupplementDonated by Reginald Harris.

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Review: Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin

User Review  - Marie Rickard - Goodreads

An exploration of James Baldwin as a brilliant, flawed observer of himself and his times. I recommend this for anyone who admires his work, or has yet to discover him. Read full review

Review: Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin

User Review  - Benjamin - Goodreads

Despite years of FBI surveillance, there's surprisingly little scandal in Baldwin's life. Most interesting is his proximity to other historical figures & his lifelong belief he hadn't produced enough. Read full review


Lord I aint No Stranger Now
A Severe Cross
Tear This Building Down
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About the author (1991)

James Campbell is the author of This Is the Beat Generation: New York, San Francisco, Paris (California, 2001), Exiled in Paris: Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett and Others on the Left Bank (1995), and Invisible Country: A Journey through Scotland (1990). He works for the Times Literary Supplement.

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