This article provides an introduction to this special section of James Baldwin Review 7 devoted to Baldwin and film. Jackson considers Baldwin’s distinct approach to film criticism by pairing him with James Agee, another writer who wrote fiction as well as nonfiction in several genres, and who produced a large body of film criticism, especially during the 1940s. While Agee, a white southerner born almost a generation before Baldwin, might seem an unlikely figure to place alongside Baldwin, the two shared a great deal in terms of temperament and vision, and their film writings reveal a great deal of consensus in their diagnoses of American pathologies. Another important context for Baldwin’s complex relationship to film is television, which became a dominant media form during the 1950s and exerted a great influence upon both the mainstream reception of the civil rights movement and Baldwin’s reception as a public intellectual from the early 1960s to the end of his life. Finally, the introduction briefly discusses the articles that constitute this special section.
A Conversation with Bill V. Mullen, the author of James Baldwin: Living in Fire
William J. Maxwell and Bill V. Mullen
William J. Maxwell, editor of James Baldwin: The FBI File (2017), interviews Bill V. Mullen on his 2019 biography, James Baldwin: Living in Fire, along the way touching on both Baldwin’s early internationalism and his relevance to the current wave of racial discord and interracial possibility in the United States.
Reading works on Baldwin from 2017 to 2019, the author tracks the significance of Baldwin within the Black Lives Matter movement and our growing need for police reform in conjunction with a revaluation of the lives of racial and ethnic minorities within the oppressive systemic biases of American social and political life.
Recalling the insurrectionary violence that descended upon the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, reflecting on the baser instincts left unchecked in America by an absence of common communication and a paradigmatic shift in our media apparatuses, Justin A. Joyce introduces the seventh volume of James Baldwin Review.
This review essay examines Eddie Glaude, Jr.’s new book Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own against several other recent works on Baldwin such as Bill Mullen’s James Baldwin: Living in Fire and Nicholas Buccola’s The Fire Is Upon Us.
This chapter outlines a model for re-reading European-authored travel texts
of the nineteenth century (and potentially travel writing more generally)
that aims to move beyond an approach to their aesthetics shaped by moments
of arrival and meeting, and prospect views. It takes a mobilities studies
approach and focuses on the example of the ‘pedestrian tour’ in Augustus
Earle’s Narrative of Nine Months’ Residence in New Zealand, in 1827 (1832).
The chapter asks what different understandings of history and coeval ‘life
worlds’ might emerge when we pay attention to mundane, local, and embodied
movements within texts such as Earle’s – movements of both the European
traveller(s) in the text and of Indigenous peoples, in this case Māori. It
pays particular attention to what happens when we read mobility within prose
travel texts alongside – and to an extent against – the more dominant
worldings evoked by the visual art of pre-colonial and early colonial
Race, class, and poetry in a South American colony
Jason Rudy, Aaron Bartlett, Lindsey O'Neil, and Justin Thompson
Hundreds of white supremacist working-class Australians settled in Paraguay
at the end of the nineteenth century, establishing a community there called
Colonia Cosme. In the poetry and song of their newspaper, the Cosme Monthly,
these settler colonialists reflected on the racial and class dynamics of
their community, imagining affinities between their community, the defeated
American Confederacy, and the White Australia policy that would accompany
Australian Federation at the turn of the century. Blackface minstrelsy in
particular played an important role in the colony’s cultural life, helping
to establish a retrograde sense of belonging in a place largely inhospitable
to their efforts. This essay considers how the Australians in Paraguay used
genre and medium to fix racist identifications at the heart of their
The introduction to this collection proposes a new literary history of the
Anglophone southern hemisphere in the long nineteenth century. Drawing on
the methodologies of ‘worlding’, southern theory, hemispheric analysis, and
Indigenous studies, it rethinks the conceptual paradigms, periodisations,
and canons of the nineteenth-century ‘British world’ by focusing on southern
cultural perspectives in multiple regional centres from Cape Town to the
Pacific Islands. Adopting a perspective that Isabel Hofmeyr has called a
‘southern latitude’, it argues for the importance of considering the shared
and interconnected histories of imperialism, colonialism, and structural
inequality that shape the literatures and experiences of the peoples of the
southern colonies, deprioritising Eurocentric orientations and identities in
favour of southern viewpoints and south–south relations across a complex of
oceanic and terracentric spaces. Considering each of the chapters within the
collection as part of a related unit of literary and cultural analysis, its
aim is to produce a more inclusive literary model of the nineteenth century
that takes into account southern histories of cultural estrangement and
marginalisation and draws its proof-texts from so-called ‘minor’ and
‘minority’ writers, as well as identifying shared thematic concerns,
literary forms and tropes, and aesthetic and stylistic practices that are
distinctive to the region.
In 1850 the London Missionary Society published ‘Kiro’s Thoughts about
England’, consisting of translated and abridged excerpts from the travel
journal of Kiro, a Cook Islander from the South Pacific who had arrived in
England in 1847. Originally intended for Cook Islanders, through its
publication in the Juvenile Missionary Magazine Kiro’s journal instead
becomes a narrative for British children. Kiro’s writing prompts us to
consider how we are to read literary texts by peoples disempowered through
imperial processes, when those texts are only deemed worthy of publication
and preservation through their conformity with the dominant structures of
power, in this case the London Missionary Society and its British Protestant
norms. How do we wrest such texts from the evangelical framework that
enabled their publication? How do we position the text’s observance of
evangelical expectations within a spectrum from accommodation to consent?
What work is done by the editor’s silent selections and elisions in the
process of publication? In disentangling Kiro’s text from a pervasive
British missionary ontology, this essay demonstrates the agency of Pacific
Islanders as they negotiated the new technology of alphabetic literacy, a
literacy accessed through Christianity, but not restricted to the cultural
parameters of British evangelicalism.
This chapter engages the rich social, linguistic, and aesthetic repertoire of
the flash (originally a cant language of thieves and convicts), using the
convict phenomenon of ‘lag fever’ to complicate the idea of colonial
belatedness in Australia. It argues that the flash language of thieves,
gypsies, and convicts can be understood as an early kind of ‘world language’
that connected underclasses with upper classes within and across
metropolitan Regency London and the southern climes and convict spaces of
colonial Australia (Botany Bay, Newcastle, and Van Diemen’s Land).
Connecting genealogies of masculine style and self-fashioning, and
print-visual form, with the social arenas of fashionability, respectability,
exile, convictism, and settler culture across Britain, Ireland, Europe, and
Australia, this chapter throws new light on the liminal yet transformative
Regency cultures of scandalous celebrity, exile, and convictism.