James Baldwin and the City of Lights with Samuél Lopez-Barrantes

James Baldwin and the City of Lights with Samuél Lopez-Barrantes


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

Though James Baldwin spent much of his life in France, few people know about the early days in Paris that inspired perhaps the greatest love story about life in Paris, Giovanni's Room. From his conversations in the Latin Quarter with French existentialists and Algerian revolutionaries to his travels to the South of France, this seminar is both a story of James Baldwin’s love for another country as well as an analysis of his contribution to the Civil Rights movement and American letters.
Beginning with the story of Baldwin's early years and his flight from the USA, this seminar will also cover Baldwin’s discovery of France, his writing style and philosophy, and his important and famous feud with fellow Paris-based author Richard Wright on the Boulevard Saint Germain. Participants will not only leave this seminar with a better understanding of James Baldwin as an ex-pat but will also have a better appreciation for his indelible work concerning the Civil Rights Movement and modern American letters.
Led by Samuél Lopez-Barrantes, an expert on intellectual history and creative writing, this interactive seminar will cover James Baldwin’s life in France as well as his particular writing style and philosophy. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away from this seminar with an increased appreciation for how the City of Lights inspired one of the greatest authors to change literature forever.

Samuél is a writer and musician who has lived in Paris since 2008. He holds an M.A. in European Society from University College London and an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Samuél teaches creative writing at the Sorbonne, and is also a pianist and singer in the American indie-rock trio, Slim & The Beast.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 21 reviews
90%
(19)
5%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
5%
(1)
D
D. (Oak Park, US)
Language and Light in Baldwin’s Paris

Samuel offered an elegant and accessible way into Baldwin’s complex life and works by focusing tightly, but never narrowly or reductively, on the author’s search for a language adequate to his experience in the world during his years in Paris. Acknowledging Baldwin’s Parisian friendships and sometimes vexed personal relationships, as well as his participation in the politics of civil rights, Samuel wisely privileges Baldwin’s language, his words. (His choice of passages is brilliant.) And since Samuel is a sensitive and passionate reader, the emphasis on language opens up profound questions of being and becoming—not only for Baldwin, but also for us. Although he clearly had much more to say, Samuel generously left 30 minutes for a discussion that turned out to be intimate, deep, revelatory, and provocative.

S
S.K. (Oakland, US)
Well conceived and presented

I enjoyed the chance to trace some of the French and Swiss travels of James Baldwin, and think about his critical development. Samuel was a very thoughtful and engaging teacher, and left me with a desire to continue learning about this important writer who is relevant and revealing today.
“The moment we cease to hold each other.
The moment we break faith with one another.
The sea engulfs us and the light goes out”

J
Jo (Pittsburgh, US)
An Intriging Intro to a Complex Soul

I have just begun to explore James Baldwin and his work. I found this a wonderful taste of the man and some of the issues he wrestled with throughout his life and work. It certainly made me eager to read Baldwin's writings. Samuél seemed quite versed in philosophy and I found his insights and analysis engaging and thought provoking.

C
Candy Moss (New York, US)
Do not miss this!

SL-B brings insight and passion to this course that combines biography, history, and analysis enabling Baldwin to come alive. SL-B is a creative force—not to be misse.

L
Lynn (Baltimore, US)
Brilliant lecture

This was a great class! Samuél shared a broad range of excellent information, observations, pictures and quotations in a relatively short period of time. Compelling and enlightening.

Customer Reviews

Based on 21 reviews
90%
(19)
5%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
5%
(1)
D
D. (Oak Park, US)
Language and Light in Baldwin’s Paris

Samuel offered an elegant and accessible way into Baldwin’s complex life and works by focusing tightly, but never narrowly or reductively, on the author’s search for a language adequate to his experience in the world during his years in Paris. Acknowledging Baldwin’s Parisian friendships and sometimes vexed personal relationships, as well as his participation in the politics of civil rights, Samuel wisely privileges Baldwin’s language, his words. (His choice of passages is brilliant.) And since Samuel is a sensitive and passionate reader, the emphasis on language opens up profound questions of being and becoming—not only for Baldwin, but also for us. Although he clearly had much more to say, Samuel generously left 30 minutes for a discussion that turned out to be intimate, deep, revelatory, and provocative.

S
S.K. (Oakland, US)
Well conceived and presented

I enjoyed the chance to trace some of the French and Swiss travels of James Baldwin, and think about his critical development. Samuel was a very thoughtful and engaging teacher, and left me with a desire to continue learning about this important writer who is relevant and revealing today.
“The moment we cease to hold each other.
The moment we break faith with one another.
The sea engulfs us and the light goes out”

J
Jo (Pittsburgh, US)
An Intriging Intro to a Complex Soul

I have just begun to explore James Baldwin and his work. I found this a wonderful taste of the man and some of the issues he wrestled with throughout his life and work. It certainly made me eager to read Baldwin's writings. Samuél seemed quite versed in philosophy and I found his insights and analysis engaging and thought provoking.

C
Candy Moss (New York, US)
Do not miss this!

SL-B brings insight and passion to this course that combines biography, history, and analysis enabling Baldwin to come alive. SL-B is a creative force—not to be misse.

L
Lynn (Baltimore, US)
Brilliant lecture

This was a great class! Samuél shared a broad range of excellent information, observations, pictures and quotations in a relatively short period of time. Compelling and enlightening.