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“I’m Trying to be as Honest as I Can”

An Interview with James Baldwin (1969)

Rich Blint and Nazar Büyüm

This is the first English language publication of an interview with James Baldwin (1924–87) conducted by Nazar Büyüm in 1969, Istanbul, Turkey. Deemed too long for conventional publication at the time, the interview re-emerged last year and reveals Baldwin’s attitudes about his literary antecedents and influences such as Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Countee Cullen; his views concerning the “roles” and “duties” of a writer; his assessment of his critics; his analysis of the power and message of the Nation of Islam; his lament about the corpses that are much of the history and fact of American life; an honest examination of the relationship of poor whites to American blacks; an interrogation of the “sickness” that characterizes Americans’ commitment to the fiction and mythology of “race,” as well as the perils and seductive nature of American power.

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“I live a hope despite my knowing better”

James Baldwin in Conversation with Fritz J. Raddatz (1978)

Gianna Zocco

This is the first English-language publication of an interview with James Baldwin conducted by the German writer, editor, and journalist Fritz J. Raddatz in 1978 at Baldwin’s house in St. Paul-de-Vence. In the same year, it was published in German in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, as well as in a book of Raddatz’s conversations with international writers, and—in Italian translation—in the newspaper La Repubblica. The interview covers various topics characteristic of Baldwin’s interests at the time—among them his thoughts about Jimmy Carter’s presidency, his reasons for planning to return to the United States, his disillusionment after the series of murders of black civil rights activists in the 1960s and 1970s, and the role of love and sexuality in his literary writings. A special emphasis lies on the discussion of possible parallels between Nazi Germany and U.S. racism, with Baldwin most prominently likening the whole city of New York to a concentration camp. Due to copyright reasons, this reprint is based on an English translation of the edited version published in German. A one-hour tape recording of the original English conversation between Raddatz and Baldwin is accessible at the German literary archive in Marbach.

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Gianna Zocco

When James Baldwin in No Name in the Street discusses the case of Tony Maynard, who had been imprisoned in Hamburg in 1967, he emphasizes that his efforts to aid his unjustly imprisoned friend were greatly supported by his German publishing house Rowohlt and, in particular, by his then-editor Fritz Raddatz (1931–2015). While the passages on Maynard remain the only instance in Baldwin’s published writings in which Raddatz—praised as a courageous “anti-Nazi German” and a kindred ally who “knows what it means to be beaten in prison”—is mentioned directly, the relation between Baldwin and Raddatz has left traces that cover over fifty years. The African-American writer and Rowohlt’s chief editor got to know each other around 1963, when Baldwin was first published in Germany. They exchanged letters between 1965 and 1984, and many of Raddatz’s critical writings from different periods—the first piece from 1965, the last from 2014—focus of Baldwin’s books. They also collaborated on various projects—among them a long interview and Baldwin’s review of Roots—which were all published in the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, where Raddatz served as head of the literary and arts sections from 1977 to 1985. Drawing on published and unpublished writings of both men, this article provides a discussion of the most significant facets of this under-explored relationship and its literary achievements. Thereby, it sheds new light on two central questions of recent Baldwin scholarship: first, the circumstances of production and formation crucial to Baldwin’s writings of the 1970s and 1980s, and secondly, Baldwin’s international activities, his transcultural reception and influence.

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Introduction

Nursing work and nurses’ space in the Second World War: a gendered construction

Jane Brooks

history interview in the South of England by Jane Brooks, 20 October 2011. 73 Abrams, Oral History Theory, 83. 74 Harrison, Medicine and Victory, 52. 22 Introduction 75 Penny Summerfield, ‘Culture and composure: Creating narratives of the gendered self in oral history interviews’, Cultural and Social History 1 (2004): 66. For a detailed analysis of ‘composure’ in oral history, see also Summerfield, Reconstructing Women’s Wartime Lives. 76 I have been fortunate to receive a number of unpublished diaries, journals and essays of nurses from their family members, and I

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Two China ‘gadabouts’

Guerrilla nursing with the Friends Ambulance Unit, 1946–48

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Susan Armstrong-Reid

papers (hereafter MS), Margaret Stanley, ‘A year in Yenan’, unpublished manuscript, p. vi.  4 The term is from Alex de Waal, Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa (London:  African Rights and the International African Institute, 1997).  5 See de Waal, Famine Crimes.  6 Imperial War Museum, London (hereafter IWM), Sound Archives (hereafter SA), Lyn Smith, catalogue 9437, 11 November 1986, interview with Edith [Elizabeth] Hughes, reel 1.  7 Smith, interview with Hughes. Ironically this is now the hospital that treats all injured military

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Modernizing the north

Women, internal colonization and indigenous peoples

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Katie Pickles

not step up its development of the Arctic, the country risked forfeiting its sovereignty claims to the Americans or, worse still, the Russians. Recalling the early IODE work in the north, one member commented in interview: ‘I don’t know if this has come to light in any of your studies, probably not. The Canadian government were worried about the Russians coming in. We were afraid that if we didn

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Saying the unsayable

Identities in crisis in the early novels of Marie Darrieussecq

Shirley Jordan

Darrieussecq: l’après Truismes’, Le Nouvel Observateur,  (– February ), pp. – (p. ).  Marguerite Duras, La Douleur (Paris: POL, ).  Antoine de Gaudemar, ‘Darrieussecq, du cochon au volatil’, Libération (Livres) ( February ), I–III (III).  See, for example, Nathalie Sarraute, Le Planétarium (Paris: Gallimard, ).  Marie Darrieussecq, Précisions sur les vagues (Paris: POL, ), p. .  Unpublished interview with Shirley Jordan,  May .  ‘A cette époque-là de ma vie j’étais en train de devenir adulte, entre vingt et trente ans

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‘As if nothing ever happened’

Massacres, missing corpses, and silence in a Bosnian community

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Max Bergholz

istoriju (unpublished manuscript, Sarajevo, 1980), pp. 92–5.  5 For a discussion of local politics in the region during the inter-war period, see Bibanović, Stanovništvo Kulen Vakufa, pp. 112–70.  6 On cordial relations between Serbs and Muslims during the weekly Thursday market, see Jovica Keča, ‘Ustanički dani u okolini Kulen Vakufa’, in Bosanski Petrovac u NOB: Zbornik sjećanja. Knjiga IV (Bosanski Petrovac: Opštinski odbor SUBNOR-a, 1974), pp. 199–200; on the ethnically mixed soccer teams in the region, see Bibanović, Stanovništvo Kulen Vakufa, pp. 128–9.  7 For

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‘This is London calling the West Indies’

The BBC’s Caribbean Voices

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Glyne Griffith

as part of her prize. When Winnie Casserley was interviewed by the BBC Marson, who had accompanied her as a journalist for the Standard , joined her. BBC staff were impressed by Marson’s performance and offered her freelance work on Picture Page , where she worked closely with the producer Cecil Madden. 5 As Delia Jarrett-Macauley indicates

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Identification, politics, disciplines

Missing persons and colonial skeletons in South Africa

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Nicky Rousseau

group of guerrillas to be exhumed by the MPTT voiced their dissatisfaction in interviews conducted by Jay Aronson: ‘It was like we were burying an old person. We are not happy at all. There were no flags. There were no MKs to march for them to show people that these people have fought for this country. It was like a normal funeral.’ Echoing similar sentiments, others suggested their husbands’ reburial ‘was not proper’: No matter, they put some stones, the headstones. That doesn’t interest us. We wanted these people to be buried as soldiers and respected as people who