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The Critical Reception of James Baldwin in France

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Rosa Bobia

James Baldwin's reputation has to a large extent been studied as an isolated American phenomenon. This book-length study is the first that examines the large body of criticism by French-language critics. The wealth of documents makes possible the comparison of African critics of French expression of African-American literature and allows for comparisons of Francophone and American critics as well. James Baldwin is the most intensely studied author in France among the postwar group of African-American authors since Richard Wright. This study shows that the complex and substantive reasons for Baldwin's success go beyond the obvious interest of the French in African-American literature and his intermittent stay in France for nearly four decades.