• Me and My House: James Baldwin's Last Decade in France

    Author(s):
    Pages: 408
    Illustrations: 104 illustrations, incl. 24 in color
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $104.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-6924-0
  • Paperback: $28.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-6983-7
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  • Abbreviations  ix
    Acknowledgments  xi
    Introduction. If I Am a Part of the American House, and I Am: Vitrines, Fragments, Reassembled Remnants  1
    1. Foundations, Facades, and Faces: Through the Glass Blackly, or Domesticating Claustrophobic Terror  51
    2. Home Matter: No House in the World, or Reading Transnational, Black Queer Domesticity in St. Paul-de-Vence  85
    3. Life Material: Haunted Houses and Welcome Tables, or The First Teacher, the Last Play, and Affectations of Disidentification  145
    4. Building Metaphors: "Sitting in the Strangest House I Have Ever Known," or Black Heterotopias from Harlem to San Juan, to Paris, London, and Yonkers  213
    5. Black Matters of Value: Erasure, Overlay, Manipulation, or Archiving the Invisible House  295
    Notes  317
    Bibliography  351
    Index  377
  • "Zaborowska's readings into Baldwin's work are thoughtful and illuminating. An opinionated and passionate book on one of the 20th century's most important writers."

    "Zaborowska takes you on an intricate journey in which she explores the central theme of home and what this means in terms of identity and belonging. . . . This book contains vast details of Baldwin’s life in France – full of stunning photographs and beautifully illustrated, it draws on interviews with those closest to him and unpublished letters and works. It dissects, analyses and tries to understand the life lived by Baldwin, particularly how the relationship between social space and architecture is linked to race. It enables readers to reassess the richness and complexity of his writing and gives them an opportunity to understand the man behind the work. . . ."

    Reviews

  • "Zaborowska's readings into Baldwin's work are thoughtful and illuminating. An opinionated and passionate book on one of the 20th century's most important writers."

    "Zaborowska takes you on an intricate journey in which she explores the central theme of home and what this means in terms of identity and belonging. . . . This book contains vast details of Baldwin’s life in France – full of stunning photographs and beautifully illustrated, it draws on interviews with those closest to him and unpublished letters and works. It dissects, analyses and tries to understand the life lived by Baldwin, particularly how the relationship between social space and architecture is linked to race. It enables readers to reassess the richness and complexity of his writing and gives them an opportunity to understand the man behind the work. . . ."

  • “The thing that startles, the trick that steals the breath as one reads Me and My House, is Magdalena J. Zaborowska's unrelenting insistence that James Baldwin was an embodied, social, thriving, and multifaceted individual deeply enmeshed in a vibrantly complicated domesticity. Not only does Zaborowska break through hackneyed accounts of Baldwin's isolation but she also disrupts the clumsy boundaries that separate critic from reader and fiction from criticism, allowing us to understand the work of James Baldwin as not simply material to be studied but also a bright model for the production of our own social and cultural critique.” — Robert F. Reid-Pharr, author of, Archives of Flesh: African America, Spain, and Post-Humanist Critique

    “Magdalena J. Zaborowska is one of the foremost experts in the world on James Baldwin. Given her unparalleled access to an unusually substantial amount of source material and her deep knowledge of her subject, Me and My House offers rich new material and fresh ways of understanding Baldwin's relationship with writers, artists, and activists. Specialists and general readers alike will find this book engaging and enlightening.” — Michele Elam, editor of, The Cambridge Companion to James Baldwin

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  • Description

    The last sixteen years of James Baldwin's life (1971–87) unfolded in a village in the South of France, in a sprawling house nicknamed “Chez Baldwin.” In Me and My House Magdalena J. Zaborowska employs Baldwin’s home space as a lens through which to expand his biography and explore the politics and poetics of blackness, queerness, and domesticity in his complex and underappreciated later works. Zaborowska shows how the themes of dwelling and black queer male sexuality in The Welcome Table, Just above My Head, and If Beale Street Could Talk directly stem from Chez Baldwin's influence on the writer. The house was partially torn down in 2014. Accessible, heavily illustrated, and drawing on interviews with Baldwin's friends and lovers, unpublished letters, and manuscripts, Me and My House offers new insights into Baldwin's life, writing, and relationships, making it essential reading for all students, scholars, and fans of Baldwin.

    About The Author(s)

    Magdalena J. Zaborowska is Professor of Afroamerican and American Studies and the John Rich Faculty Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan, and the author and coeditor of several books, including James Baldwin's Turkish Decade: Erotics of Exile, also published by Duke University Press, and How We Found America: Reading Gender through East European Immigrant Narratives.
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