Toni Morrison's Fiction

Overview

In this introduction to the Nobel Prizewinning fiction of Toni Morrison, Jan Furman surveys six novels, a short story, and a book of criticism to reconstruct the development of Morrison's creative vision and to assess its influence in contemporary literature. She traces the recurrent characters, themes, and settings that embody Morrison's literary vision and strike such familiar chords for Morrison's readers. Demonstrating that Morrison strongly supports the idea that the artist must engender and interpret ...
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Overview

In this introduction to the Nobel Prizewinning fiction of Toni Morrison, Jan Furman surveys six novels, a short story, and a book of criticism to reconstruct the development of Morrison's creative vision and to assess its influence in contemporary literature. She traces the recurrent characters, themes, and settings that embody Morrison's literary vision and strike such familiar chords for Morrison's readers. Demonstrating that Morrison strongly supports the idea that the artist must engender and interpret culture, Furman reveals the novelist's contribution to the expansion and redefinition of the American literary canon through her portrayal of the African-American experience. Furman's account of Morrison's growth as a writer includes her midwestern childhood, relatively late start on her own literary career, and experiences as full-time parent, teacher, lecturer, and editor at Random House. She discusses Morrison's keen interest in African-American communal life and addresses the criticism that her fiction is florid and self-indulgent. Furman proposes that through Morrison's pursuit of a personal, artistic vision, she creates remarkable tales of human experience that a less independent writer would not attempt. In addition, Furman examines Morrison's concern with the danger of gender and racial stereotyping and with her admiration for those who resist such limitations. Pointing to the novelist's extraordinary depictions of human suffering, endurance, and triumph, Furman moves beyond literary analysis to illuminate what she contends to be the defining achievement of Morrison's fiction: the presentation of the path to spiritual freedom and emotional independence.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Surveys six novels, a short story, and a book of criticism by the Nobel-Prize winning author, reconstructing the development of Morrison's creative vision and assessing its influence in contemporary literature. Traces the recurrent characters, themes, and settings in her work, and reveals her contributions to the expansion and redefinition of the American literary canon through her portrayal of the African-American experience. For literature students. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Editor's Preface
1 Understanding Toni Morrison 1
2 Black Girlhood and Black Womanhood: The Bluest Eye and Sula 12
3 Male Consciousness: Song of Soloman 34
4 Community and Cultural Identity: Tar Baby 49
5 Remembering the "Disremembered": Beloved 67
6 City Blues: Jazz 85
7 Literary and Social Criticism: Playing in the Dark 104
Conclusion 112
Selected Bibliography 115
Index 121
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