The Bluest Eye,published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove--a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others--who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
Toni Morrison--author of Song of Solomon and Tar Baby--is a writer of remarkable powers: her novels, brilliantly acclaimed for their passion, their dazzling language and their lyric and emotional force, combine the unassailable truths of experience and emotion with the vision of legend and imagination.
Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family#146;s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies. In this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison tells the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio. Their devotion is fierce enough to withstand bullies and the burden of a dreadful secret. It endures even after Nel has grown up to be a pillar of the black community and Sula has become a pariah. But their friendship ends in an unforgivable betrayal--or does it end? Terrifying, comic, ribald and tragic, Sula is a work that overflows with life.
In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At the funeral, Joe’s wife, Violet, attacks the girl’s corpse. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.
A powerful tragedy distilled into a jewel of a masterpiece by the Nobel Prize–winning author of Beloved and, almost like a prelude to that story, set two centuries earlier. In the 1680s the slave trade was still in its infancy. In the Americas, virulent religious and class divisions, prejudice and oppression were rife, providing the fertile soil in which slavery and race hatred were planted and took root. But at its heart it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and of a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment. Acts of mercy may have unforeseen consequences.
The author of Song of Solomon now sets her extraordinary novelistic powers on a striking new course. Tar Baby, audacious and hypnotic, is masterful in its mingling of tones--of longing and alarm, of urbanity and a primal, mythic force in which the landscape itself becomes animate, alive with a wild, dark complicity in the fates of the people whose drama unfolds. It is a novel suffused with a tense and passionate inquiry, revealing a whole spectrum of emotions underlying the relationships between black men and women, white men and women, and black and white people.
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison brings the genius of a master writer to this personal inquiry into the significance of African-Americans in the American literary imagination. Her goal, she states at the outset, is to "put forth an argument for extending the study of American literature...draw a map, so to speak, of a critical geography and use that map to open as much space for discovery, intellectual adventure, and close exploration as did the original charting of the New World--without the mandate for conquest."
America's foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid? Drawing on her Norton Lectures, Toni Morrison takes up these and other vital questions bearing on identity in The Origin of Others. In her search for answers, the novelist considers her own memories as well as history, politics, and especially literature.
May, Christine, Heed, Junior, Vida;even L: all women obsessed with Bill Cosey. The wealthy owner of the famous Cosey’s Hotel and Resort, he shapes their yearnings for father, husband, lover, guardian, and friend, yearnings that dominate the lives of these women long after his death. Yet while he is either the void in, or the center of, their stories, he himself is driven by secret forces–a troubled past and a spellbinding woman named Celestial. This audacious exploration into the nature of love–its appetite, its sublime possession, its dread–is rich in characters, striking scenes, and a profound understanding of how alive the past can be. A major addition to the canon of one of the world’s literary masters.
Arguably the most celebrated and revered writer of our time now gives us a new nonfiction collection--a rich gathering of her essays, speeches, and meditations on society, culture, and art, spanning four decades. The Source of Self-Regard is brimming with all the elegance of mind and style, the literary prowess and moral compass that are Toni Morrison's inimitable hallmark. It is divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a powerful prayer for the dead of 9/11; the second by a searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., and the last by a heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. In the writings and speeches included here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, "black matter(s)," and human rights. She looks at enduring matters of culture: the role of the artist in society, the literary imagination, the Afro-American presence in American literature, and in her Nobel lecture, the power of language itself. And here too is piercing commentary on her own work (including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, and Paradise) and that of others, among them, painter and collagist Romare Bearden, author Toni Cade Bambara, and theater director Peter Sellars. In all, The Source of Self-Regard is a luminous and essential addition to Toni Morrison's oeuvre.
As a chronicler of the African American experience in fiction and as an incisive cultural commentator in her essays and lectures, Toni Morrison (b. 1931) is regarded as one of the nation's most distinguished novelists and intellectuals. Her novels are richly layered narratives that explore the meanings of tragedy and myth in individual lives. Morrison's perspectives on American life and culture, rendered with a deep understanding of the consequences of history and the power of art, are always compelling. Toni Morrison: Conversations includes interviews with the Nobel Laureate that bring into the foreground Morrison's comments on American literature and society, the academy, and her own work. She discusses growing up in Lorain, Ohio, her role as editor at Random House, the continuing evolution of her style, her teaching philosophy, and her most recent novels Jazz, Paradise, and Love. This volume includes interviews and profiles from the 1970s and 1980s that were not collected in Conversations with Toni Morrison (1993) and a rich collection of new interviews published together for the first time, including conversations with Paula Giddings, Salman Rushdie, Charlie Rose, and Elissa Schappell.
Nobel laureate Toni Morrison's novels have almost exclusively been examined as sagas illuminating history, race, culture, and gender politics. This gathering of eight essays by top scholars probes Morrison's novels and her growing body of nonfiction and critical work for the complex and potent aesthetic elements that have made her a major American novelist of the twentieth century. Through traditional aesthetic concepts such as the sublime, the beautiful, and the grotesque, through issues of form, narrative, and language, and through questions of affect and reader response, the nine essays in this volume bring into relief the dynamic and often overlooked range within Morrison's writing. Employing aesthetic ideas that range from the ancient Greeks to contemporary research in the black English oral tradition, The Aesthetics of Toni Morrison shows the potency of these ideas for interpreting Morrison's writing. This is a force Morrison herself has often suggested in her claims that Greek tragedy bears a striking similarity to "Afro-American communal structures.
In this innovative study, Lucille P. Fultz explores Toni Morrison's rich body of work, uncovering the interplay between differences - love and hate, masculinity and femininity, black and white, past and present, wealth and poverty - that lie at the heart of these vibrant and complex narratives. Much has already been made of Morrison's treatment of race, but Playing with Difference demonstrates that throughout her work Morrison creates a sophisticated matrix of difference, layering a multitude of other distinctions onto the racial one and observing how these potencies of difference play themselves out in her characters. Fultz's holistic, thematic approach to her subject enables her to move deftly among the novels and stories, building a nuanced understanding of how markers of difference influence Morrison's narrative decisions. She examines Morrison's facility with imagery and wordplay and discusses the ways in which Morrison contends with the expectations of gender and race that have stiffened into traditions - or worse, prejudices. novel, from The Bluest Eye (1970) to Paradise (1998), along with stories, such as Recitatif, as parts of an elaborate and dynamic whole. Lucille P. Fultz, an associate professor of English at Rice University, has been an NEH fellow, a Mellon fellow, and the recipient of a Ford Foundation grant. She is a coeditor of Double Stitch: Black Women Write about Mothers and Daughters and the author of essays on Toni Morrison that have appeared in several collections.
Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, is perhaps the most important living American author today, and certainly one of the most popular in college and high school courses. Her novels, including ""Sula"", ""Song of Solomon"", ""Beloved"", and ""Paradise"", have won almost every major award available to them. In addition, her influence as a critic, book editor, and mentor to other writers has been incalculable. ""Critical Companion to Toni Morrison"" examines Morrison's life and writing, featuring critical analyses of her work and themes, as well as entries on related topics and relevant people, places, and influences.
A reading of the oeuvre of Toni Morrison -- fiction, non-fiction, and other -- drawing extensively from her many interviews as well as her primary texts. The author aligns Morrison's novels with the works of Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner, assessing her works as among the most innovative, and most significant, worldwide, of the past fifty years.