James Baldwin Reading from Another Country: From Great American Authors Read from Their Works, Volume 1
Date: August 2019
Duration: 0 hours 15 minutes
New York's Greenwich Village in the 1950s, the gatheringplace of artists, writers, and musicians, is the setting of Another Country, Baldwin's third novel. The characters, all involved in complexinterracial relationships, cluster around Rufus, a jazz musician whose suicideaffects them profoundly. For Baldwin, Rufus represents "the black corpse floatingin the national psyche." Baldwin's first reading on this recording portraysRufus' state of mind in his final moments.
Baldwin's second reading is a sermon by Reverend Foster,addressing Rufus' friends and family at his funeral. In his adolescence Baldwinhimself was a Pentecostal preacher, following in his stepfather's footsteps. Aftera few years he abandoned his faith, but the sonorous sentences and exhortationsof black religious oratory continued to inform his writing. This sermon is anelectrifying example of that oratory applied to the subject of racial struggle.