Conversations with Toni Morrison

Overview

Without apology Nobel Prize author Toni Morrison describes herself as an African-American woman writer. These collected interviews reveal her to be much more. She has shared space in her creative life for her career in publishing, in teaching, and in being a single parent. Writing, however, is one thing she "refuses to live without." These interviews beginning in 1974 reveal an artist whose creativity is intimately linked with her African-American experience and is fueled by cultural and societal concerns. For ...
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Overview

Without apology Nobel Prize author Toni Morrison describes herself as an African-American woman writer. These collected interviews reveal her to be much more. She has shared space in her creative life for her career in publishing, in teaching, and in being a single parent. Writing, however, is one thing she "refuses to live without." These interviews beginning in 1974 reveal an artist whose creativity is intimately linked with her African-American experience and is fueled by cultural and societal concerns. For twenty years she has created unforgettable characters in her acclaimed novels - The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, and Jazz. Morrison tells her interviewers that her goal as a writer is to present African-American life not as sociology but in the full range of its depth, magic, and humanity. "I want my work to capture the vast imagination of black people," she says. "That is, I want my books to reflect the imaginative combination of the real world, the very practical, shrewd, day-to-day functioning that black people do, while at the same time they encompass some great supernatural element." Though the scope and the magnitude of her art have brought her international acclaim, even some of her most ardent admirers have viewed her fiction mainly with a focus on class, race, and gender. In these interviews, however, she addresses the artist's concern with moral vision and with a resistance to critical attitudes that categorize black writing largely as sociology. From these interviews comes a greater understanding of Toni Morrison's purpose and the theme of love that streams through her fiction.

From Toni Morrison:
Critics generally don't associate black people with ideas. They see marginal people. . . sociologically interesting people perhaps but bery parochial. . . . We are people, not aliens. We live, we love, and we die.

Black people have a story, and that story has to be heard. There was an articulate literature before there was a print. There were griots. They memorized it. People heard it. It is important that there is sound in my books–that you can hear it, that I can hear it.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A collection of 24 interviews with the author of The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved, arranged chronologically from 1974 to 1992. The interviews reveal an artist whose creativity is intimately linked with her African-American experience and is fueled by cultural and societal concerns. Taken as a whole, the interviews illuminate the evolution of Morrison's purpose as a writer--to present African-American life not as sociology but in the full range of its depth, magic, and humanity. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878056927
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Series: Literary Conversations Series
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 848,608
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Chronology
Conversation with Alice Childress and Toni Morrison 3
Intimate Things in Place: A Conversation with Toni Morrison 10
The Seams Can't Show: An Interview with Toni Morrison 30
Talk with Toni Morrison 43
The Song of Toni Morrison 48
Complexity: Toni Morrison's Women 60
The One Out of Sequence 67
The Visits of the Writers Toni Morrison and Eudora Welty 84
Toni Morrison 93
The Language Must Not Sweat: A Conversation with Toni Morrison 119
A Conversation with Toni Morrison 129
An Interview with Toni Morrison 138
Toni Morrison 156
An Interview with Toni Morrison 171
A Conversation: Gloria Naylor and Toni Morrison 188
Toni Morrison Tries Her Hand at Playwriting 218
An Interview with Toni Morrison 223
Talk with Toni Morrison 234
Author Toni Morrison Discusses Her Latest Novel Beloved 239
In the Realm of Responsibility: A Conversation with Toni Morrison 246
The Pain of Being Black: An Interview with Toni Morrison 255
A Conversation with Toni Morrison 262
An Inspired Life: Toni Morrison Writes and a Generation Listens 275
All That Jazz 280
Index 289
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