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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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 novelist and musician who has lived in Paris since 2010. 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 literature and creative writing at Paris’ Sorbonne. He is also in an American folk-rock trio, Slim & The Beast, whose self-titled EP has already caught the attention of Rolling Stone France.

This course is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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