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James Baldwin
James Baldwin’s flight from America.
by Claudia Roth Pierpont
Feeling more than usually restless, James Baldwin flew from New York to Paris in the late summer of 1961, and from there to Israel. Then, rather than proceed as he had planned to Africa—a part of the world he was not ready to confront—he decided to visit a friend in Istanbul. Baldwin’s arrival at his Turkish friend’s door, in the midst of a party, was, as the friend recalled, a great surprise: two rings of the bell, and there stood a small and bedraggled black man with a battered suitcase and enormous eyes. Engin Cezzar was a Turkish actor who had worked with Baldwin in New York, and he excitedly introduced “Jimmy Baldwin, of literary fame, the famous black American novelist” to the roomful of intellectuals and artists. Baldwin, in his element, eventually fell asleep in an actress’s lap.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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