Nobel Prize Awards

30 years after his death, James Baldwin is having a new pop culture moment

30 years after his death, James Baldwin is having a new pop culture moment

Every writer hopes his prose will persist, but James Baldwin made an especially solid bet: As long as the disease of American racism, resentment of homosexuals, and the nation’s strange relationship with social class and capitalism lasted, his work, he knew, would matter.  

But when Baldwin died 30 years ago, it would have been hard to predict that books such as “The Fire Next Time” — written as a letter to his nephew on the 100th anniversary of black emancipation — or “Giovanni’s Room” — a slender, once-obscure novel about a purportedly straight American and an Italian bartender who fall in love in Paris — would half a century later sit at the center of the zeitgeist. “Baldwin...

60°