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Passing the Three Gates Interviews with Charles Johnson by Jim McWilliams

Passing the Three Gates Interviews with Charles Johnson


Passing the Three Gates Interviews with Charles Johnson by Jim McWilliams

Known for his blending of philosophy, spirituality, humor, and a rollicking good story, Charles Johnson is one of the most important novelists writing today. From his magical first novel, Faith and the Good Thing, to his decidedly philosophical Oxherding Tale; from his swashbuckling indictment of the slave trade in the National Book Award-winning Middle Passage, to his more recent imaginative treatment of Martin Luther King Jr. in Dreamer, Johnson has continually surprised, instructed, and entertained his many avid readers. As this collection of interviews suggests, the novelist is as multifaceted and complex as his novels. Trained in cartooning and philosophy, martial arts and meditation, and producing teleplays, photobiographies, and literary criticism in addition to fiction, Charles Johnson represents a model of what he calls life as art. Alluding to the Three Gates of Buddhist Right Speech, the title of this volume aptly captures the generous spirit that characterizes Charles Johnson's work. An indispensable resource for all of Johnson's many readers, Passing the Three Gates represents both the transformation of the artist over time and the continuity and endurance of his aesthetic and spiritual vision.


Essential material for the reader interested in Johnson's life and work, and also interested more broadly in contemporary American literature. Johnson's standing as public intellectual, and as a force to be reckoned with in all cultural debates in America, is well recognized; but this book expresses his thought with a coherence and complexity that heretofore has not been available. * African American Review *

About the Author

Jim McWilliams is associate professor of English at Dickinson State University, North Dakota.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st October 2004


Jim McWilliams

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University of Washington Press


336 pages


Literary studies: from c 1900 -



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