James Baldwin's Hypothetical Country, Discussed at SF State in 1960

Friday, February 26, 2016
THE NEW YORKER -- In “Notes for a Hypothetical Novel,” an address delivered at San Francisco State College on October 22, 1960, and later published in the essay collection “Nobody Knows My Name,” James Baldwin pretended he was writing a novel in front of an audience. “Let’s pretend,” he said, “that I want to write a novel concerning the people or some of the people with whom I grew up, and since we are only playing let us pretend it’s a very long novel. I want to follow a group of lives almost from the time they open their eyes on the world until some point of resolution, say, marriage, or childbirth or death.” This piece is drawn from the introduction to a new edition of “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” by James Baldwin, which is out from Everyman’s Library, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Group, on March 1.