James Baldwin Quote

The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid the state of being alone.

James Baldwin

The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid the state of being alone.

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About James Baldwin

James Arthur Baldwin (né Jones; August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American writer and civil rights activist who garnered acclaim for his essays, novels, plays, and poems. His 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain has been ranked among the best English-language novels. His 1955 essay collection Notes of a Native Son helped establish his reputation as a voice for human equality. Baldwin was a well-known public figure and orator, especially during the civil rights movement in the United States.
Baldwin's fiction posed fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures. Themes of masculinity, sexuality, race, and class intertwine to create intricate narratives that run parallel with some of the major political movements toward social change in mid-twentieth century America, such as the civil rights movement and the gay liberation movement. Baldwin's protagonists are typically but not exclusively African American, with gay and bisexual men featured prominently in his work. His characters often face internal and external obstacles in their search for self- and social acceptance: dynamics prominent in his 1956 novel Giovanni's Room.
Baldwin's work continues to influence artists and writers. His unfinished manuscript Remember This House was expanded and adapted as the 2016 documentary film I Am Not Your Negro, winning the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary. His 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk was adapted into a 2018 film of the same name, which earned widespread praise.