I missed doing last week’s installment of this column, so we’ll do an extra big roundup this week.
Here are the interesting new literary releases publishing on or around today, November 9.
In effect, as it stands in 2010, as far as the so-called literary mainstream goes, this means the underground. But, in life, Baldwin wasn’t an underground writer at all, he told Julius Lester “a boy like me could never have survived in obscurity.” And, part of Jimmy’s beauty and power—though the source of both lie elsewhere—was most certainly his fame.
Of the last seventeen years of Baldwin’s life, Campbell writes “he retreated to the French hilltop village of St.-Paul-de-Vence, near Nice, where he lived in subdued peace and where he died in 1987.” This gloss of a calm retirement might describe many things, the “perished” who kept on living, for instance, but it does not describe the author of the novel Just Above My Head (arguably, Baldwin’s greatest literary achievement), essays such as “Here Be Dragons,” and the unpublished plays, “The Inheritance, and “The Welcome Table,” all written, among many other pieces, during the period described as a “retreat[. . .into] subdued peace.” At the close of the 1950s, Baldwin wrote, “the battle’s not over but, baby, they’ll have to carry me from the field.” As the historical record of publications, alone, from this period shows, that’s basically how it went down.
Interesting new literary releases on or around the week of Nov 2, 2010.