Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics

Overview

Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics situates Toni Morrison as a writer who writes about writing as much as about racialized, engendered, and sexualized African American, and therefore American, experience. In foregrounding the ethics of fiction writing, the book resists any triumphalist reading of Morrison's achievement in order to allow the meditative, unsettled, and unsettling questions that arise throughout her long labor at the nexus of language and politics, where her fiction...

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Overview

Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics situates Toni Morrison as a writer who writes about writing as much as about racialized, engendered, and sexualized African American, and therefore American, experience. In foregrounding the ethics of fiction writing, the book resists any triumphalist reading of Morrison's achievement in order to allow the meditative, unsettled, and unsettling questions that arise throughout her long labor at the nexus of language and politics, where her fiction interrogates representation itself.

Moving between close reading and critical theory, Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics reveals the ways in which Morrison's primary engagement with language has been a search for how and what language is made to communicate, and for how and what speaks in and from generation to generation. There is no easy escape from such legacy, no escape into a pure language free of the burdens of racialized agendas. Rather, there is the example of Morrison's commitment to writerly, which is to say readerly, wakefulness.

At a time when sustained study devoted to single authors has become rare, this book will be an invaluable resource for readers, scholars, and teachers of Morrison's work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A rich, powerful, and refreshing contribution to the study of Toni Morrison's oeuvre. This book engages the Nobel laureate's work with uncommon clarity and command, while brilliantly situating language and its ethical dimensions at the center of its inquiry. Blending convincing and careful close readings with critical theory, Yvette Christiansë crafts a fine, durable interpretive lens through which we may more intelligently view the challenges and power of Morrison's art."-Stéphane Robolin, Rutgers University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823239160
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 2/11/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,420,633
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Yvette Christainsë is Professor of English and Africana Studies at Barnard College. She is the author of two books of poetry, Castaway (Duke University Press, 1999) and Imprendehora (Kwela/Snail Press, South Africa, 2009). Her novel Unconfessed (Other Press, 2007, Kwela Books, 2007, Querido, 2007) was a finalist for the Hemingway/PEN Prize for first fiction and a recipient of a 2007 ForeWord Magazine BEA Award, and was shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2008 and the Ama Ata Aidoo Prize in 2010.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. From Witnessing to Death Dealing: On Speaking of and for the Dead
2. Burnt Offerings: Law and Sacrifice
3. Time Out of Joint: The Temporal Logic of Morrison's Modernist Apocalyptics
4. Beginning and Ending, Part One: Old Languages/New Bodies
5. Beginnings and Endings, Part Two: The Poetics of Similitude and Disavowal at Utopia's Gates
6. Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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