This essay considers James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time as a philosophical contemplation on love. Drawing on sources such as the Bible, Jacques Derrida (from whom the notion of “asymmetrical love” derives), and a host of Baldwin critics, this essay understands the Christian love of The Fire Next Time as asymmetrical. The asymmetry of love derives from its understanding of love as the responsibility to Self and Other that demands no reciprocation. Asymmetrical love makes itself vulnerable before the Other and, most importantly, it is a love that risks itself absolutely by offering love to those who will do violence to the subject who gives love.

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