Intellectuals are a class of educated and gifted people (writers, scholars, scientists, artists) produced by society to perform social functions and assume a historical responsibility. Their ethically-based competences and prophetic visions are vital to establishing a sustainable social order and promoting the society of justice. Edward Said wrote in Representations of the Intellectual that “the proliferation of intellectuals has expanded into the very large number of fields in which intellectuals—possibly following on Gramsci’s pioneering suggestions in The Prison Notebooks which almost for the first time saw intellectuals, and not social classes, as pivotal to the workings of modern society—have become the object of study.” To exemplify and understand the role of the intellectual vocation, this paper explores the question of organic intellectualism in famous American expatriate writers Ernest Hemingway and James Baldwin using distinguished public intellectuals such as Edward Said and Cornel West as a conceptual framework and theoretical reference. The discussion raises, among others, the following focus questions: what is an intellectual? What is the role and responsibility of this social class in the public domain? How do intellectuals relate to the marketplace, power, and the marginalized? How do intellectuals contribute to social change? The paper argues that both transatlantic authors Ernest Hemingway and James Baldwin were organic intellectuals whose engaged social critique, intellectual expertise, and activism were designed to counter social dysfunction, injustice, and modern alienation.
Keywords: James Baldwin, Ernest Hemingway, the organic intellectual, expertise, justice
How to Cite:
Toumi, R., (2021) “James Baldwin and Ernest Hemingway: The Expatriate Artist as Organic Intellectual”, Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies 21(1), 5-26. doi: https://doi.org/10.17077/2168-569X.1568
Rights: Copyright © 2021 Rachid Toumi.