The Baptism Criticism

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Critical reception of Baraka's work varies widely from enthusiastic praise to equally enthusiastic condemnation. William J. Harris, in the introduction to The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader, suggests that the reason for this disparity may lie in the various modes and influences of the writer's energy and creativity. According to Harris, Baraka "is an avant-garde writer whose variety of forms . . . makes him difficult to categorize, while his stormy history clouds critical objectivity."

To get a handle on Baraka's efforts, many critics have divided his work into three or four periods. Harris sees Baraka's work falling into four periods: the "Beat Period," from 1957 to 1962, during which he was influenced by white avant-garde artists such as Allen Ginsberg; the "Transitional Period," from 1963 to 1965, during which Baraka wrote The Baptism and became increasingly disillusioned with white society; the "Black Nationalist Period," from 1965 to 1974, during which Baraka argued that blacks in America...

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This section contains 685 words
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