In Search of a Beautiful Freedom: New and Selected Essays (Paperback)

In Search of a Beautiful Freedom: New and Selected Essays By Farah Jasmine Griffin Cover Image

In Search of a Beautiful Freedom: New and Selected Essays (Paperback)

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Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by The Millions



Lively, insightful writings on Black music, feminism, literature, and events from a “masterful critic and master teacher” (Walton Muyumba, Boston Globe).


In Search of a Beautiful Freedom brings together the best work from Farah Jasmine Griffin’s rich forays on music, Black feminism, literature, the crises of Hurricane Katrina and COVID-19, and the Black artists she esteems. She moves from evoking the haunting strength of Odetta and the rise of soprano popular singers in the 1970s to the forging of a Black women’s literary renaissance and the politics of Malcolm X through the lens of Black feminism. She reflects on pivotal moments in recent American history—including the banning of Toni Morrison’s Beloved—and celebrates the intellectuals, artists, and personal relationships that have shaped her identity and her work.


Featuring new and unpublished essays along with ones first appearing in outlets such as the New York Times and NPR, In Search of a Beautiful Freedom is a captivating collection that celebrates the work of “one of the few great intellectuals in our time” (Cornel West).



Farah Jasmine Griffin is professor of African American and African diaspora studies and English and comparative literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Read Until You Understand, among other works. Recipient of a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship, she lives in New York.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393355772
ISBN-10: 0393355772
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: March 28th, 2023
Pages: 384
Language: English
Powerful…Griffin is consistently incisive and her arguments deeply nuanced. This serves as a testament to the lucidity of Griffin’s stimulating oeuvre.
— Publishers Weekly

Scholarship and memoir meld in a stimulating collection.
— Kirkus Reviews

Throughout these expansive, engaging pieces, Griffin draws inspiration from many named creative heroes, as well as the writing and work of a long lineage of earlier Black artists and intellectuals. An excellent, thought-provoking collection.
— Booklist

Writer, teacher, activist, visionary, Farah Jasmine Griffin, our greatest Black feminist listener, weaves together a symphony of trenchant and pathbreaking meditations on the exquisite and transformative power of Black music, literature, visual art, film, politics and cultural theory in this singular collection of essays. In Search of a Beautiful Freedom is stirring and lyrical pedagogy in motion. Griffin’s art of the essay is both a combination of dazzling prose and galvanizing, ethical wisdom. Rapturous, formidable, an instant classic.

— Daphne Brooks, author of Liner Notes for the Revolution

Farah Jasmine Griffin's gorgeous essays reveal the genius, resistance, and freedom dreams of Black artists. Her insights give us hope; her words are endless beauty.
— Salamishah Tillet, activist, scholar, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism