“Forging a New Language”: A New Spatiotemporal Logic in James Baldwin’s the Evidence of Things Not Seen

Akıman Ö. Ö.

James Baldwin Review, vol.8, no.1, pp.66-85, 2022 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.7227/jbr.8.4
  • Journal Name: James Baldwin Review
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.66-85
  • Keywords: Atlanta child murders, Black middle class, gentrification, ghetto, innocence, internationalism, spatiotemporality, The Evidence of Things Not Seen
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


© The Authors. Published by Manchester University Press and The University of Manchester Library.This article examines James Baldwin’s late text The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985) as one of his substantial attempts at “forging a new language,” which he tentatively mentions in his late essays and interviews. As an unpopular and difficult text in Baldwin’s oeuvre, Evidence carries the imprint of a new economy of time, casting the past into the present, and a new economy of space, navigating across other geographies in appraising the serial killings of children in one of Atlanta’s poorest Black neighborhoods. This article suggests that a new economy of time emerges earlier in No Name in the Street (1972), as a result of Baldwin’s self-imposed exile in Europe. The article then analyzes his spatiotemporal logic in the specifics of Evidence with reference to a Black middle class, urbanization, the ghetto, gentrification, and other colonized spaces.