Not Everything That Is Faced Can Be Changed; But Nothing Can Be Changed Until It Is Faced

James Baldwin? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The prominent writer James Baldwin crafted a brilliant two part statement about purposeful literature:

Not everything that is faced can be changed.
But nothing can be changed until it is faced.

The word “everything” was converted to its antonym “nothing” in the second part. Also, the key words “faced” and “changed” were reordered. Thus, Baldwin employed a modified version of the ancient rhetorical technique of chiasmus. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1962 James Baldwin penned an essay titled “As Much Truth As One Can Bear” in “The New York Times Book Review”. He presented his thoughts about the crucial task of contemporary authors: Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1962 January 14, The New York Times, Section: The New York Times Book Review, As Much Truth As One Can Bear by James Baldwin, Start Page BR1, Quote Page BR38, Column 5, New York. (ProQuest)

We are the generation that must throw everything into the endeavor to remake America into what we say we want it to be. Without this endeavor, we will perish.
. . .
Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

In 1989 the quotation appeared in “Webster’s New World Best Book of Aphorisms”:[2]1989, Webster’s New World Best Book of Aphorisms by Auriel Douglas and Michael Strumpf, Topic: Change, Quote Page 72, Arco Publishing: A Division of Simon & Schuster, New York. (Verified … Continue reading

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
—James Baldwin

In 1997 the saying appeared in “Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes”[3] 1997, Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes: Wit and Wisdom for All Occasions, Quote Page 104,Published by Reader’s Digest Association, Pleasantville, New York. (Verified with hardcopy) and in 2006 it appeared in “Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing”.[4]2006, Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing, Compiled and Edited by Larry Chang, Section: Change, Quote Page 114, Column 1, Gnosophia Publishers, Washington, D.C. … Continue reading

In conclusion, James Baldwin deserves credit for this remark.

(Thanks to the volunteer editors of Wikiquote and quotation specialists Barry Popik and Mardy Grothe who listed the 1962 citation for this quotation.)

References

References
1 1962 January 14, The New York Times, Section: The New York Times Book Review, As Much Truth As One Can Bear by James Baldwin, Start Page BR1, Quote Page BR38, Column 5, New York. (ProQuest)
2 1989, Webster’s New World Best Book of Aphorisms by Auriel Douglas and Michael Strumpf, Topic: Change, Quote Page 72, Arco Publishing: A Division of Simon & Schuster, New York. (Verified with scans)
3 1997, Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes: Wit and Wisdom for All Occasions, Quote Page 104,Published by Reader’s Digest Association, Pleasantville, New York. (Verified with hardcopy)
4 2006, Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing, Compiled and Edited by Larry Chang, Section: Change, Quote Page 114, Column 1, Gnosophia Publishers, Washington, D.C. (Verified with scans)

No One Is More Dangerous Than He Who Imagines Himself Pure In Heart; For His Purity, By Definition, Is Unassailable

James Baldwin? Norman Mailer? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Individuals who consider themselves to be pure in heart are unable to recognize their own flaws. This can lead to wrong-headed and disastrous actions. The prominent novelist and essayist James Baldwin once made a comparable point about benighted self-assessment. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1961 James Baldwin published an essay in “Esquire” magazine that was sharply critical of fellow author Norman Mailer. Baldwin included the following cogent remark. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]1961 May, Esquire, The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy (The Journey of Norman Mailer) by James Baldwin, Start Page 102, Quote Page 105, Column 1, Esquire Inc., Chicago, Illinois. (Verified with … Continue reading

No one is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart; for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading No One Is More Dangerous Than He Who Imagines Himself Pure In Heart; For His Purity, By Definition, Is Unassailable

References

References
1 1961 May, Esquire, The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy (The Journey of Norman Mailer) by James Baldwin, Start Page 102, Quote Page 105, Column 1, Esquire Inc., Chicago, Illinois. (Verified with scans)

The Artist . . . Must Drive To the Heart of Every Answer and Expose the Question the Answer Hides

James Baldwin? Salim Muwakkil? Leonard Shlain? Jeff Baysa? Edgar H. Sorrells-Adewale? Tom Barone? Alva Noë? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The commonly accepted answers to questions are sometimes flawed. Deeper and more truthful discoveries are concealed by shallow and misleading explanations. A germane assertion about the objective of art has been attributed to the prominent author and social critic James Baldwin:

The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been occluded by the answers.

Often the word “hidden” appears in the statement instead of “occluded”. I have been unable to find a solid citation for either statement. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: The 1962 collection “Creative America” included a piece by James Baldwin titled “The Creative Process”. Baldwin discussed the mindset and intentions of an artist within a society. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:[1]1962 Copyright, Creative America by John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S, Truman et al, Chapter: The Creative Process by James Baldwin, Start Page 17, Quote Page 18 and 19, Published for … Continue reading

Society must accept some things as real; but he must always know that the visible reality hides a deeper one, and that all our action and all our achievement rests on things unseen. A society must assume that it is stable, but the artist must know, and he must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven. One cannot possibly build a school, teach a child, or drive a car without taking some things for granted. The artist cannot and must not take anything for granted, but must drive to the heart of every answer and expose the question the answer hides.

QI conjectures that the statement under analysis evolved from the final sentence highlighted above. It is possible that Baldwin penned more than one version of this thought, but QI has not yet discovered a closer match to the target statement.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Artist . . . Must Drive To the Heart of Every Answer and Expose the Question the Answer Hides

References

References
1 1962 Copyright, Creative America by John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S, Truman et al, Chapter: The Creative Process by James Baldwin, Start Page 17, Quote Page 18 and 19, Published for the National Cultural Center by The Ridge Press, New York. (Verified with scans)

Fires Can’t Be Made with Dead Embers, Nor Can Enthusiasm Be Stirred by Spiritless Men

James Baldwin? James Mark Baldwin? Stanley Baldwin? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: There is a quotation that begins with an assertion that fires cannot be made with dead embers. The quotation has often been credited to U.S. writer James Baldwin, but I haven’t been able to find a solid citation. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in the “Elmira Star-Gazette” of New York in May 1942. The text was two sentences long, and it occurred within a box with a narrow black border. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1942 May 2, Elmira Star-Gazette, Enthusiasm (Filler item), Quote Page 8, Co Elmira, New York. (Newspapers_com)

Fires can’t be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks.
—Baldwin.

The single-name attribution was ambiguous, and over the years the quotation has been ascribed to at least three different people: U.S. philosopher James Mark Baldwin, British politician Stanley Baldwin, and U.S. author James Baldwin. The current evidence is too weak to definitively identify the creator. One may hope that future research will help solve this mystery.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Fires Can’t Be Made with Dead Embers, Nor Can Enthusiasm Be Stirred by Spiritless Men

References

References
1 1942 May 2, Elmira Star-Gazette, Enthusiasm (Filler item), Quote Page 8, Co Elmira, New York. (Newspapers_com)

One Writes Out of One Thing Only—One’s Own Experience

James Baldwin? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: According to the prominent author and social critic James Baldwin the craft of writing depends fundamentally on channeling experience. He employed the metaphorical phrase “the last drop, sweet or bitter”. Would you please help me to find a citation for his statement?

Quote Investigator: In 1955 James Baldwin published “Notes of a Native Son” which began with a section titled “Autobiographical Notes” containing the following passage. Emphasis added:[1] 1964 (1955 Copyright), Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, Chapter: Autobiographical Notes, Quote Page 4 and 5, Bantam Books, New York. (Verified with scans)

One writes out of one thing only—one’s own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art.

Below are additional selected citations.

Continue reading One Writes Out of One Thing Only—One’s Own Experience

References

References
1 1964 (1955 Copyright), Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, Chapter: Autobiographical Notes, Quote Page 4 and 5, Bantam Books, New York. (Verified with scans)