Beyond Literary Landscapes—James Baldwin

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


This column serves as an introduction to the works of James Baldwin, a reminder of some of the author’s classics, and as an inspiration for further reading.

For further reading, other similar authors to consider include Langston Hughes, poet and author of works, such as Not Without Laughter, as well as Zora Neale Hurston, author of notable works, such as Their Eyes Were Watching God and Jonah’s Gourd Vine.


Some well-known works of James Baldwin include The Fire Next Time, Giovanni’s Room, Go Tell It to the Mountain, and Notes of a Native Son.

Other notable works include Another Country and If Beale Street Could Talk.


Many of these works take place in the United States, including Harlem and Greenwich Village in New York City, as well as in Paris, France.


These works mainly take place in the mid-20th-century.


For readers interested in themes of race, class, sexual orientation, identity, civil rights, and queer liberation, the works of James Baldwin may serve as an introduction.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to the works of James Baldwin are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works. (Always check with a counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may consider a broad research topic in ENGL 492: Research and Writing Projects in Literature, a senior-level, three-credit course, in which they “complete an extended research and writing project under the direction of a professor.”  (Note that ENGL 211 and ENGL 212 or equivalents are required prerequisites, plus two senior-level English courses, and permission of the professor.)

In addition, ENGL 491: Directed Studies in Literature is another option to consider.  This senior-level, three-credit “course is designed for students who want to pursue a particular topic of study in literature, cultural studies, or both.”  (As above, this course requires ENGL 211 and ENGL 212 or equivalents are required prerequisites, plus two senior-level English courses, and permission of the professor.)

Finally, students may also be interested in ENGL 361: Literature of the Harlem Renaissance, a senior-level, three-credit course, which “is a genre specific study of the poetry, prose, short fiction and novels of the Harlem Renaissance.”  Happy reading