Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Go Tell It on the Mountain
James Baldwin


This is James Baldwin’s electrifying first novel. “I had to deal with what hurt me most. I had to deal with my father.” Drawing on James Baldwin’s own boyhood in a religious community in 1930s Harlem, this novel tells the story of young Johnny Grimes. Johnny is destined to become a preacher like his father, Gabriel, at the Temple of the Fire Baptized, where the church swells with song and it is as if “the Holy Ghost were riding on the air.” But he feels only scalding hatred for Gabriel, whose fear and fanaticism lead him to abuse his family. Johnny vows that, for him, things will be different. This blazing tale is full of passion and guilt, of secret sinners and prayers singing on the wind.

Paperback, 272pp
Penguin Books, 2001 (1953)
ISBN 9780141185910