MARCH 3, 2021 — Published to a mixed reception in 1974, James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk has undergone a marked critical reappraisal in recent years, aided in part by its inclusion in the 2015 Library of America volume James Baldwin: Later Novels and by the Barry Jenkins film adaptation in 2018.
In the latest installment of the LOA Live series “Reading James Baldwin Now,” Literary Hub staff writer and Catapult Contributing Editor Gabrielle Bellot discusses why she believes Beale Street, which centers on an act of police misconduct but is also a Black love story, deserves to be read as Baldwin’s masterpiece—a major work that speaks directly to present-day concerns.
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Presented in partnership with the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture