James Baldwin’s 1956 Novel "Giovanni's Room" Revisited

By Hilton Als; Photographs by John Edmonds; Styled by Carlos Nazario
Left: The Row T-shirt, $250, (212) 755-2017. A.P.C. jeans, $220, apc-us.com. Right: Hermès shirt, $960, hermes.com. Dior Men pants, price on request, (800) 929-3467.Credit...Photo by John Edmonds. Styled by Carlos Nazario
Nobody wanted it. Certainly not the folks at Alfred A. Knopf, who published his first novel, “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” in 1953. Back then, the young James Baldwin — he was just 28 when “Mountain” came out. Baldwin was made to feel suspicious and grief-stricken about his body long before he or a loving man could claim it. “Go Tell It on the Mountain” is a beautiful novel in part because its author understands the interiority of the characters who recall so much during a particular church service. “Giovanni’s Room” was Baldwin’s bastard child in the way he was a bastard child. Imagine the various publishers’ surprise when this novel of gay and bisexual love showed up over the transom. (It was eventually published in 1956 by the Dial Press.) [More]
Left: Giorgio Armani Icon Collection T-shirt. Calvin Klein Underwear briefs, $40, calvinklein.com.Credit...Photo by John Edmonds. Styled by Carlos Nazario
On the Cover: A reimagining of “Giovanni’s Room” is featured in T’s Sept. 8 Men’s Fashion issue. From top: Celine by Hedi Slimane sweater, $1,550. Hermès sweater, $1,000.Credit...Photo by John Edmonds. Styled by Carlos Nazario