Search results

Robert Z. Birdwell

Go Tell It on the Mountain sheds light on James Baldwin’s response to his Pentecostal religious inheritance. Baldwin writes protagonist John Grimes’s experience of “salvation” as an act of his own break with his past and the inauguration of a new vocation as authorial witness of his times. This break is premised on the experience of kairos, a form of time that was derived from Baldwin’s experience of Pentecostalism. Through John Grimes’s experience, Baldwin represents a break with the past that begins with the kairotic moment and progresses through the beginnings of self-love and the possibility of freedom enabled by this love. This essay contributes a new perspective on discussions of Baldwin’s representation of time and his relationship to Christianity.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Dennis Ray Knight Jr.

If he is known for anything other than his writings, James Baldwin is best known for his work as a civil rights activist. What is often overlooked is Baldwin’s work toward uniting two under-represented and oppressed groups: African Americans and homosexuals. With his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Baldwin began a career of speaking about and for homosexuals and their relationship with the institutions of African-American communities. Through its focus on a sensitive, church-going teenager, Go Tell It on the Mountain dramatizes the strain imposed upon homosexual members of African-American communities within the Pentecostal Church through its religious beliefs.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Reading James Baldwin’s Existential Hindsight in Go Tell It on the Mountain
Miller Wilbourn

This essay reads James Baldwin’s first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, through the lenses of European existentialism and Black existential thought to arrive at a new understanding of the novel itself as well as essential stages of its development. Archival sources and close reading reveal Baldwin’s historically and existentially informed artistic vision, summed up in the terms hindsight and insight. His thoughtful, uncomfortable engagement with the past leads to a recuperated relationship to the community and constitutes existential hindsight, which informs his inward understanding of himself—his insight. This investigation draws on various works from Baldwin’s fiction, essays, interviews, and correspondence to arrive at a better understanding of the writer’s intellectual and artistic development, focusing especially on the professed objectives behind, and major revisions of, the novel. I conclude the essay through a close reading of the conversion scene that constitutes Part Three of Go Tell It on the Mountain.

James Baldwin Review
Rape and Marriage in Go Tell It on the Mountain
Porter Nenon

To consider how James Baldwin resisted racialized notions of sexuality in his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, I employ a number of black feminist critics—including Saidiya Hartman, Patricia Williams, Hortense Spillers, and Patricia Hill Collins—to analyze three under-studied minor characters: Deborah, Esther, and Richard. Those three characters are best understood as figures of heterosexual nonconformity who articulate sophisticated and important critiques of rape and marriage in America at the turn of the twentieth century. Baldwin thus wrote subversive theories of race and sexuality into the margins of the novel, making its style inextricable from its politics. Baldwin’s use of marginal voices was a deft and intentional artistic choice that was emancipatory for his characters and that remains enduringly relevant to American sexual politics. In this particularly polarizing transition from the Obama era to the Donald J. Trump presidency, I revisit Baldwin’s ability to subtly translate political ideas across fault lines like race, nationality, and sex.

James Baldwin Review
Abstract only

3 3 1 1 Introduction In medias res , A Moment of Silence Joyce Justin A. justin.a.joyce@emory.edu 09 2017 3 3 1 1 1 1 8 8 10.7227/JBR.3.1 Essays “Esther Weren’t No Harlot” Rape and Marriage in Go Tell It on the Mountain Nenon Porter pmn2rz@virginia.edu 09 2017 3 3 1 1 9 9 26 26 10.7227/JBR.3.2 Errant Kinship, Traveling Song James Baldwin’s Just Above My Head James

Abstract only

4 4 1 1 Introduction “Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition”: At Home in the Life and Work of James Baldwin Field Douglas 9 2018 4 4 1 1 1 1 7 7 10.7227/JBR.4.1 Essays “So sensual, so languid, and so private” James Baldwin’s American South Fallis Jeff 9 2018 4 4 1 1 8 8 29 29 10.7227/JBR.4.2 Kairotic Time, Recognition, and Freedom in James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on

Abstract only

29 9 2020 6 6 1 1 85 85 105 105 6 10.7227/JBR.6.6 Graduate Student Essays The Warrior and the Poet On James Baldwin and the Many Roles in Revolution Binford Nicholas 29 9 2020 6 6 1 1 106 106 121 121 7 10.7227/JBR.6.7 Baptism by History Reading James Baldwin’s Existential Hindsight in Go Tell It on the Mountain Wilbourn

Open Access (free)
James Baldwin and the Broken Silences of Black Queer Men
McKinley E Melton

James Baldwin writes within and against the testimonial tradition emerging from the Black Church, challenging the institution’s refusal to acknowledge the voices and experiences of black queer men. Baldwin’s autobiographical novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, creates a space for Baldwin’s testimony to be expressed, and also lays the foundation for a tradition of black queer artists to follow. In the contemporary moment, poet Danez Smith inhabits Baldwin’s legacy, offering continuing critiques of the rigidity of conservative Christian ideologies, while publishing and performing poetry that gives voice to their own experiences, and those of the black queer community at large. These testimonies ultimately function as a means of rhetorical resistance, which not only articulates black queer lives and identities, but affirms them.  

James Baldwin Review