Quiz about James Baldwin
Quiz about James Baldwin

James Baldwin Trivia Quiz


Test your knowledge of this African-American essayist, novelist, and playwright, or learn more about his work.

A multiple-choice quiz by skylarb. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
skylarb
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
402,520
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
226
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Baldwin's first published work was a review of which early 20th century Russian author, known for "The Lower Depths," "My Childhood," and "Summerfolk"? Hint

Maxim Gorky
Ivan Turgenev
Leo Tolstoy
Fydor Dostoevsky

2. Baldwin's semi-autobiographical first novel "Go Tell it on the Mountain" can best be described as belonging to what literary genre? Hint

Romance
Bildungsroman
Science-fiction
Historical Fiction

3. What James Baldwin novel, written in 1956 before the gay liberation movement, depicts the frustrations of a man with his relationships, including with an Italian bartender he meets at a gay bar in Paris? Hint

Giovanni's Room
The Bluest Eye
Song of Solomon
If Beale Street Could Talk

4. What James Baldwin novel inspired a 2018 romantic drama film directed by Barry Jenkins? Hint

Go Tell It on the Mountain
If Beale Street Could Talk
Giovanni's Room
Blues for Mister Charlie

5. Baldwin's first published non-fiction work collected ten essays tackling issues of race in America and Europe. The book drew its title from what novel by Richard Wright, a novel Baldwin sharply criticized? Hint

Going to Meet the Man
Native Son
Up from Slavery
The Souls of Black Folk

6. In his essay "Everybody's Protest Novel," what classic did Baldwin criticize for its excess sentimentality and for depicting black slaves as praying to a white God? Hint

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Carmen
The Color Purple
Uncle Tom's Cabin

7. What type of work was James Baldwin's 1954 publication "The Amen Corner"? Hint

A play
An essay
A children's book
A novel

8. Which of the following is NOT a novel by James Baldwin? Hint

Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
Just Above My Head
Another Country
Tar Baby

9. "_____ / creates the situation, / and, then, the situation / creates _____." What word is missing from this poem by James Baldwin? Hint

Tragedy
Imagination
Love
Hope

10. Baldwin's unfinished manuscript, "Remember This House," was expanded and adapted for a 2016 documentary film. What was the film titled? Hint

Echo in the Canyon
The Black Godfather
I Am Not Your Negro
American Factory


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Baldwin's first published work was a review of which early 20th century Russian author, known for "The Lower Depths," "My Childhood," and "Summerfolk"?

Answer: Maxim Gorky

Baldwin's review appeared in 1947 in "The Nation," a magazine in which he continued to publish throughout his career. Baldwin eventually served on the editorial board of "The Nation" as well. Alexei Maximovich Peshkov (known as Maxim Gorky) was the founder of the socialist realism literary method and was nominated five times for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
2. Baldwin's semi-autobiographical first novel "Go Tell it on the Mountain" can best be described as belonging to what literary genre?

Answer: Bildungsroman

In German, "bildung" means self-cultivation and "roman" means novel. Bildungsroman is a coming-of-age literary genre focusing on the growth of a main character from youth to adulthood. Published in 1953, "Go Tell It on the Mountain" follows the development of a clever teenager name John Grimes in 1930s Harlem.
3. What James Baldwin novel, written in 1956 before the gay liberation movement, depicts the frustrations of a man with his relationships, including with an Italian bartender he meets at a gay bar in Paris?

Answer: Giovanni's Room

David, a young, blond bisexual American man in Paris, has an affair with Giovanni, a bartender at Guillaume's gay bar. The novel explores themes of sexual identity, social isolation, and masculinity. Unusual for Baldwin's novels, all of the characters in "Giovanni's Room" were white.

"Song of Solomon" and "The Bluest Eye" are by Toni Morrison.
4. What James Baldwin novel inspired a 2018 romantic drama film directed by Barry Jenkins?

Answer: If Beale Street Could Talk

"If Beale Street Could Talk," published in 1974, is a love story set in Harlem in the early 1970s. The film based on the novel premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2018.

Baldwin was no stranger to the film industry. While working at the Calypso, bussing tables and cleaning dishes, he met actor Marlon Brando, who was at the time studying at the Dramatic Workshop of the American Theatre Wing Professional School. The author and actor were roommates for a time, and they remained friends for two decades.
5. Baldwin's first published non-fiction work collected ten essays tackling issues of race in America and Europe. The book drew its title from what novel by Richard Wright, a novel Baldwin sharply criticized?

Answer: Native Son

"Up from Slavery" was by Booker T. Washington and "The Souls of Black Folk" by W.E.B. Du Bois. "Going to Meet the Man" is another book by James Baldwin.

Baldwin's "Notes of a Native Son," published in 1995, contained essays that had previously appeared in various magazines. He followed it up with "Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son" in 1961.

"Native Son" was a 1940 novel written by Richard Wright that told the story of a black youth living in abject poverty on Chicago's South Side in the 1930s. In his essay "Everybody's Protest Novel," Baldwin critiqued Richard Wright's Native Son for portraying its main character, Bigger Thomas, as an angry black man. In "Many Thousands Gone," Baldwin further criticized Bigger Thomas as being an unsympathetic and stereotypical character.
6. In his essay "Everybody's Protest Novel," what classic did Baldwin criticize for its excess sentimentality and for depicting black slaves as praying to a white God?

Answer: Uncle Tom's Cabin

This essay was included in "Notes of a Native Son." Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic abolitionist novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was published in 1852.

Baldwin grew up in the Pentecostal church, but as an adult he publicly declared himself to be non-religious, once telling the Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad that he now had no religion and practiced "nothing. I'm a writer. I like doing things alone."
7. What type of work was James Baldwin's 1954 publication "The Amen Corner"?

Answer: A play

The work was a three-act play later adapted for Broadway. The Original Cambridge Players premiered the play in Los Angeles at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in April 1965. Beah Richards was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role as Sister Margaret Alexander.
8. Which of the following is NOT a novel by James Baldwin?

Answer: Tar Baby

"Tar Baby" is a novel by Toni Morrison.

Baldwin's "Another Country" was published in 1962 and set in Harlem and Greenwich Village in the late 1950s. It dealt with controversial subjects including adultery, interracial couples, and bisexuality. His "Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone," about an African-American actor who has a heart attack on stage, was published in 1968. "Just Above My Head," Baldwin's sixth novel, was published in 1979.
9. "_____ / creates the situation, / and, then, the situation / creates _____." What word is missing from this poem by James Baldwin?

Answer: Imagination

The poem, titled "Imagination," continues:

"It may, of course,
be the other way around:
Columbus was discovered
by what he found."

All of Baldwin's poems were collected after his death in "Jimmy's Blues and Other Poems" (2014).
10. Baldwin's unfinished manuscript, "Remember This House," was expanded and adapted for a 2016 documentary film. What was the film titled?

Answer: I Am Not Your Negro

Directed by Raoul Peck and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the documentary deals with racism in American and makes reference to Civil Rights leaders including Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The film won the BAFTA Award in the category of Best Documentary.
Source: Author skylarb

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor LeoDaVinci before going online.
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