Monday, July 30, 2007

The Price of the Ticket

The Guardian has an informative piece from Caryl Phillips exploring James Baldwin's expatriation in Paris, and the impact of his return to the states on his creative work. I'm not feeling Phillips' dismissal of Another Country (One of my favorite books), but it is interesting to think about what role an author can (and should) take on in the struggle for social justice. Baldwin had a profound influence on the way that Americans understood race, but Phillips' piece seems to suggest that his persona as a public intellectual (and all of the complications that came with it) crippled his creative work. I think that brings up a serious question for any writer.
Would you sacrifice the psychic space you need to create if it meant you could have a significant positive impact on social change like Baldwin? Hmmm...


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