CRF Blog

On James Baldwin

by Marianna Muratova

On James Baldwin, is the transcript of novelist Darryl Pinckney’s speech given on The New York Review of Books’ 50th anniversary. His speech looks at the influences of James Baldwin.

He was right about so much in our political and social culture, not to mention gay marriage and how liberating is the freedom to be like everyone else. I said then and say again that his voice has not aged; that the journey out of Egypt is his true theme; and that in the kingdom of the first person he has few peers.

James Baldwin has been on my mind all my writing life, as has The New York Review of Books, ever since 1973, when the great Elizabeth Hardwick, surprised I’d not read F.W. Dupee on Baldwin, which appeared in the very first issue, sat me down with a big red bound volume of the first decade of the paper. Part of its luck was to have been bought in the 1980s by Rea Hederman, a hero of liberal journalism in the segregated South. [more]