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Carl Phillips | James Baldwin

Sep
17

September 17, 2020 Online

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Carl Phillips | James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

Giovanni's Room is a fever dream of language, desire, tenderness, those brief moments in which we think we know ourselves and others, the larger moments when we realize the quest to know anything for sure may be unresolvable—yet we keep questing, anyway. It's a meditation, too, on otherness—in terms of class, sex, race, and of intimacy maybe most of all.


Reading Schedule
Day 1 | September 17: Part 1, Ch. 1, pg. 3-13 (up to "to be the son of such a mother")

Day 2 | September 18: Part 1, Ch. 1, pg. 13-27 (from "Years later, when I had become a man" to “if monkeys did not—so grotesquely—resemble human beings.”)

Day 3 | September 19: Part 1, finish Ch. 1 & all of Ch. 2, p. 27-43 (from "This bar was practically in my quartier" to "the light of that gloomy tunnel trapped around his head.")

Day 4 | September 20: Part 1, Ch. 3, p. 44-61 (up to “to reach out and comfort him”)

Day 5 | September 21: Finish Ch. 3 (end of Part 1), p. 61-71 (from "Our oysters came and we began to eat" to "so many desperate and drunken mornings.")

Day 6 | September 22: Part 2, all of Ch. 1, p. 75-84

Day 7 | September 23: Part 2, all of Ch. 2, p. 85-102

Day 8 | September 24: Part 2, all of Ch. 3, p. 103-118

Day 9 | September 25: Part 2, Ch. 4, p. 119-136 (up to “'We’d better get some sleep.'”)

Day 10 | September 26: Part 2, finish Ch. 4, p. 136-148 (from "I got to Giovanni's room very late" to "the sash of his dressing gown.")

Day 11 | September 27: Part 2, Ch. 5, p. 149-157 (up to “and the shadow of death.”)

Day 12 | September 28: Part 2, finish Ch. 5, p. 157-169 (from "By the time we found this great house" to The End.)


Carl Phillips

is the author of fifteen books of poems, most recently Pale Colors in a Tall Field (FSG). He teaches at Washington University in Saint Louis.


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