Study Guide

The Flaming Princess in Giovanni's Room

By James Baldwin

The Flaming Princess

David encounters the flaming princess in Guillaume's gay bar. He describes him in impersonal terms like "something walking after it had been put to death" (1.2.144). The flaming princess wants to know what David thinks of Giovanni, but David refuses to say anything. The old man tells him that Giovanni is very dangerous and begs David to buy him a drink. When David refuses:

His face crumpled in the sorrow of infants and of very old men – the sorrow, also, of certain, aging actresses who were renowned in their youth for their fragile, child-like beauty. The dark eyes narrowed in spite and fury and the scarlet mouth turned down like the mask of tragedy. "T'aura du chagrin," he said. "You will be very unhappy. Remember that I told you so." (1.2.158)