Belonging in exile: James Baldwin in Paris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

James Baldwin's autobiographical essay Equal in Paris is a perceptive and often amusing account of the American writer's first visit to Paris. An aspiring novelist who left America in rage over his experience of the country's injustice and contempt toward Black Americans, Baldwin is acutely aware of racial prejudice in majority white societies. He tells of his experience of staying in a dilapidated hotel, of being wrongly accused of theft and then imprisoned in a Paris jail for more than a week over Christmas. Baldwin's astute observations of Parisian life and its institutions, show how as a Black American, he struggles to understand this new cultural environment which like most Western societies, has its own form of racism. But this is also a story of an artist's search for a new intellectual home where he can breathe freely and write. His new friendships with other artists and observations about cosmopolitan European life, allow him to assess what it means to be an American in Paris. This includes exploring those social attitudes that divide America and Europe and those that are universal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-251
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Law and Religion
Issue number2
Early online date30 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • James Baldwin
  • African American
  • racism
  • migration
  • home
  • belonging


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