Friday, October 19, 2007

James Baldwin

I'm reading the Paris Review Interviews, Part II, the interview with James Baldwin and about the essay, he says, "....An essay is essentially an argument. The writer's point of view in an essay is always absolutely clear. The writer is trying to make the readers see something, trying to convince them of something. In a novel or play you're trying to show them something..."

So true. When I'm compelled to write an essay, I need to convince the reader (and myself) of something.

Essayists, and those studying the form, what do you think? Why do you write essays? Any essayists you love?

And of talent, Baldwin says, "Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance."

I love the Paris Review Interviews.... All of the collections....


Deborah said...

Oh, I adore Baldwin. Did you ever see the documentary on him? If not, I'll try to locate it and send it to you.

Anonymous said...

At your prompting, I went to the library's web site and reserved a DVD: Go Tell it on the Mountain. I don't think this is what you're talking about. Is this a film version of the novel? Or maybe it is what you're talking about!

Ben said...

The Paris Review! A million years ago, in the fifties, that's where you learned how the great ones did their stuff--Faulkner, Hemingway, Parker, T.S. Eliot. And the PR is still going, which I did not know. Still more to read!

Essayists I love and envy-- David Sedaris, Joseph Epstein, Tracy Kidder, Sarah Vowell.

Big J. said...

Got my first rejection slip from the Paris Review when I was fourteen.