The Identifying Fictions of Toni Morrison

Modernist Authenticity and Postmodern Blackness

Author: J. Duvall

Publisher: Springer


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 182

View: 544

Although all published biographical information on Toni Morrison agrees that her birth name was Chloe Anthony Wofford, John Duvall's book challenges this claim. Using new biographical information, he explores the issue of names and naming in Morrison's fiction and repeatedly finds surprising traces of the Nobel Prize-winning author's struggle to construct a useable identity as an African American woman novelist. Whatever the exact circumstances surrounding her decision to become Toni, one thing becomes clear: the question of identity was not a given for Morrison.

Ethics and Aesthetics in Toni Morrison’s Fiction

Author: Mariangela Palladino

Publisher: BRILL


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 175

View: 872

Ethics and Aesthetics in Toni Morrison’s Fiction explores the relationship between ethics and aesthetics in Toni Morrison’s fiction. Palladino’s work foregrounds ambiguity as a key feature of narrative ethics.

Dismemberment in the Fiction of Toni Morrison

Author: Jaleel Akhtar

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 180

View: 884

Dismemberment in the Fiction of Toni Morrison is a multifaceted study of Toni Morrison’s fiction. It investigates racism and the concomitant experiences of dismemberment in Morrison’s fiction from multiple perspectives, including history, psychology, and culture. Looking at dismemberment from multiple perspectives, rather than the more generic and abstract expression of fragmentation, likens the impact of racism on individuals to the splitting of bodies, amputation, phantom limbs and traumatic memories, and in more concrete and visceral terms. Morrison’s art of story-telling involves an interactive conversation from multiple perspectives, demanding more attentive participation from her readers in deconstructing the meaning of her narratives. Studying her fiction from multiple perspectives suggests various ways of examining the pernicious impact of racism which produces various forms of dismemberment in her characters. This investigation does this without giving prominence to one perspective at the expense of other equally relevant modes of interpretation. Morrison’s depiction of the trauma of racism on the psyche of her characters and the concomitant experiences of dismemberment has its roots in the historical and social realities of African Americans. The psychological impact of racism on Morrison’s characters requires viewing through the lens of the historical and social realities that play a significant role. Morrison enacts racial alienation and dismemberment as complex processes; it is consequently important to look at her project from multiple perspectives. Examining the lived reality of African Americans from only one perspective ignores dismemberment in the light of the socio-political and historical realities of African American experience in the United States, and entails reconsideration of the physical, historical, social and psychological realities. This investigation argues for the importance of combining these historical and psychological, as well as sociocultural, analyses of Morrison’s fiction in order to acquire a more rounded understanding of racism and its debilitating effects on the psyche. By situating Morrison’s fiction within a variety of discourses, this study offers a multifaceted, highly interdisciplinary framework for a more rewarding analysis of her fiction.

Toni Morrison's Fiction

Revised and Expanded Edition

Author: Jan Furman

Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Press


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 208

View: 706

In this revised introduction to Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison’s novels, Jan Furman extends and updates her critical commentary. New chapters on four novels following the publication of Jazz in 1992 continue Furman’s explorations of Morrison’s themes and narrative strategies. In all Furman surveys ten works that include the trilogy novels, a short story, and a book of criticism to identify Morrison’s recurrent concern with the destructive tensions that define human experience: the clash of gender and authority, the individual and community, race and national identity, culture and authenticity, and the self and other. As Furman demonstrates, Morrison more often than not renders meaning for characters and readers through an unflinching inquiry, if not resolution, of these enduring conflicts. She is not interested in tidy solutions. Enlightened self-love, knowledge, and struggle, even without the promise of salvation, are the moral measure of Morrison’s characters, fiction, and literary imagination. Tracing Morrison’s developing art and her career as a public intellectual, Furman examines the novels in order of publication. She also decodes their collective narrative chronology, which begins in the late seventeenth century and ends in the late twentieth century, as Morrison delineates three hundred years of African American experience. In Furman’s view Morrison tells new and difficult stories of old, familiar histories such as the making of Colonial America and the racing of American society. In the final chapters Furman pays particular attention to form, noting Morrison’s continuing practice of the kind of “deep” novelistic structure that transcends plot and imparts much of a novel’s meaning. Furman demonstrates, through her helpful analyses, how engaging such innovations can be.

Love and Narrative Form in Toni Morrison's Later Novels

Author: Jean Wyatt

Publisher: University of Georgia Press


Category: Love in literature

Page: 246

View: 479

Jean Wyatt explores the interaction among ideas of love, narrative innovation, and reader response in Toni Morrison's seven later novels, revealing each novel's unconventional idea of love as expressed in a new and experimental narrative form.

Toni Morrison and the Limits of a Politics of Recognition

Author: William Jefferson

Publisher: CreateSpace


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 200

View: 839

Is Toni Morrison's writing as politically progressive as is widely assumed? In this eye-opening study, critic William Jefferson argues that it is not. Analyzing Morrison's major texts from the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, Jefferson argues that Morrison's writing has advanced problematic conceptions of racial essentialism, sexuality, and agency that would not be identified as in any way progressive if issued from the pen of a white writer. More than merely showing readers underappreciated aspects of African-American history, Morrison's fiction has actively intervened in the politics of her era--and in ways politically reactionary and disturbing. Stepping back from Morrison's fiction, Jefferson asks why scholars have not recognized these political aspects of Morrison's writing. What he finds is a purportedly left-wing academy focused predominantly on recognizing the indisputably black aspects of Morrison's work. This "politics of recognition," unfortunately, also naturalizes Morrison's representations in the same manner liberal humanist criticism naturalized the representations of the pre-1970 literary canon.

Toni Morrison

Author: Pelagia Goulimari

Publisher: Routledge


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 239

View: 506

Toni Morrison's visionary explorations of freedom and identity, self and community, against the backdrop of African American history have established her as one of the foremost novelists of her time; an artist whose seriousness of purpose and imaginative power have earned her both widespread critical acclaim and great popular success. This guide to Morrison’s work offers: an accessible introduction to Morrison’s life and historical contexts a guide to her key works and the themes and concerns that run through them an overview of critical texts and perspectives on each of Morrison’s works cross-references between sections of the guide, in order to suggest links between texts, contexts and criticism a chronology of Morrison’s life and works. Part of the Routledge Guides to Literature series, this volume is essential reading for all those beginning detailed study of Toni Morrison and seeking a guide to her work and a way into the wealth of contextual and critical material that surrounds it.

The Cambridge Introduction to Toni Morrison

Author: Tessa Roynon

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 143

View: 852

Lively and accessibly written, this Introduction offers readers a guide to the complex and rewarding literature of Toni Morrison.

The Toni Morrison Encyclopedia

Author: Elizabeth Ann Beaulieu

Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 428

View: 447

Alphabetically arranged entries discuss the Nobel Prize-winning author's works, themes, and major characters, as well as providing an overview of her life and achievements.

Toni Morrison and the Bible

Contested Intertextualities

Author: Carlyle V Thompson

Publisher: Peter Lang


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 274

View: 268

This collection of essays critically interrogates Toni Morrison's use of the Bible in her novels, examining the ways in which the author plays on the original text to raise issues of spirituality as it affects race, gender, and class. Ideal for courses on Morrison or on explorations of the intersection of religion and literature, this collection treats its topic with sophistication, considering «religion» in its broadest possible sense, and examining syncretic theologies as well as mainstream religions in its attempt to locate Morrison's work in a spiritual-theological nexus.