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The James Baldwin Interview

Abstract

From Rosa Bobia’s The Critical Reception of James Baldwin in France (Peter Lang, 1998; and a special note of thanks to editor Stephen Mazur), Reprise reprints Bobia’s 1985 interview with Baldwin in Atlanta, shortly before his death in France in 1987. Here, as Bobia and Baldwin enter into a brief discussion of his perception of how he was received in France in the 1950s, Baldwin seems to embrace the fact that he was at that time in France largely unknown, an outsider: “I was a maverick.” In light of the fact that in his later years Baldwin came to speak French with great ease and to live comfortably in his home in France, it may seem surprising that his tone in these pages seems to suggest a hint of disinterest in how French critics perceived him—or perhaps it is simply indicative of his deeper affiliations, just as his final burial in the US seems to indicate.

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