Maureen Kelleher

James Baldwin’s arrest in Paris in December 1949 gave birth to his perfect storm. His ten days in Fresnes jail weakened him physically and emotionally. He made it out, but upon release he was mired in self-doubt and enveloped in a bout of depression. He returned to his hotel, ready to try to get back to his life, however daunting that effort would be. The hotelier’s demand that he settle his bill, and do it quickly, awakened his obsession with suicide. He simply could not handle one more obstacle in his path; he chose to kill himself in his room. Ironically, he saved his life when he jumped off a chair with a sheet around his neck. In a matter of seconds his death wish was replaced by his equally obsessive need to write, witness, think, party, drink, challenge, and love.

James Baldwin Review
Johnnie Gratton

her eye, and her lens, is that made up of crumpled bedsheets, items of clothing strewn across chairs or hung in wardrobes, and shoes. What these signs have in common for Calle is suggested when, on her last working day at the hotel, she reflects on the sight of a dented pillow. Before viewing the pillow symbolically as ‘un signe d’adieu’ (a sign of farwell), she sees in it ‘l’empreinte arrondie d’une présence’ (p. ) (the rounded imprint of a presence). In other words, she reads it semiotically as an index, a sign whose relationship with its object is one of causal

in Women’s writing in contemporary France