Artist As Outsider In The Novels Of Toni Morrison And Virginia Woolf

Overview

On first consideration, Nobel prize winning African-American author Toni Morrison would seem to have little in common with Virginia Woolf, the British writer who challenged Victorian concepts of womanhood. But Woolf's achievement and influence have been enduring, so much so that Morrison wrote her masters thesis on Woolf and William Faulkner. In that thesis, Morrison gives special attention to issues of isolation, and she notes that for Woolf, isolation brought a sense of freedom that the attached could never ...

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Overview

On first consideration, Nobel prize winning African-American author Toni Morrison would seem to have little in common with Virginia Woolf, the British writer who challenged Victorian concepts of womanhood. But Woolf's achievement and influence have been enduring, so much so that Morrison wrote her masters thesis on Woolf and William Faulkner. In that thesis, Morrison gives special attention to issues of isolation, and she notes that for Woolf, isolation brought a sense of freedom that the attached could never comprehend. This book examines the literary relationship between Woolf and Morrison.

In her own novels, Morrison redefined Woolf's concept of isolation in terms of American racism. While Morrison's female characters are clearly outsiders, they can nevertheless experience a sense of community that Woolf's characters cannot. Woolf's female characters, on the other hand, are often alienated because of their repressed erotic longing for women. Both Morrison and Woolf consider the severe obstacles the female artist must encounter and overcome before she can create art. This volume looks at the similarities that link Morrison and Woolf together despite their racial, ethnic, national, and historical differences, and it examines how differing structures of domination define their art.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Williams (English, Ramapo College) juxtaposes one Woolf with one Morrison novel to discuss various points: with on the issue of female sexual abuse; with for the motif of female bonding and creativity; and and for the theme of personal memory and historical loss. Williams's major argument is that both writers create narrative structures emphasizing the severe obstacles<-->especially isolation<-->the female artist must encounter and overcome to create. Woolf and Morrison also share something in common besides gender troubles: Morrison wrote her master's thesis on the concept of alienation in Woolf (and Faulkner). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

LISA WILLIAMS is Associate Professor of Literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey, where she teaches writing, literature, and women's studies.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
The Voyage Out 27
The Bluest Eye 53
Mrs. Dalloway 79
Sula 101
To the Lighthouse 129
Beloved 151
Epilogue 169
Works Cited 175
Index 187
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