The Critical Life of Toni Morrison
Title Details

316 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Literary Criticism in Perspective

Imprint: Camden House

The Critical Life of Toni Morrison

by Susan Neal Mayberry

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
The first book to trace the critical reception of the great African American woman writer, attending not only to her fiction but to her nonfiction and critical writings.
Toni Morrison (1931-2019) is the most important American novelist since Faulkner, the most significant American woman writer since Dickinson, and the most widely read African American public intellectual of the last half century. Her influence as a writer, critic, editor, teacher, and scholar is profound: she changed the face of literature and literary criticism in the US, if not worldwide. Yet despite the ever-expanding field of Morrison scholarship, no book tracing her critical reception has existed, until now. The book is as much a cultural history of America as a reception history of an American writer.
Morrison worked brilliantly in many genres - fiction, of course (novels and short stories); drama/staged performance; poetry; non-fiction on historical, social, and political issues; and critical writings on the work of others and on her own work. She generated a literary-critical methodology that recognizes and embraces rather than ignores the African American presence in US literature, and thus transformed American academics' attitude toward American letters. The story of Morrison's achievement in making a home for herself - and for other women and people of color - in the stony bedrock of "white male" American literature is the subject of this book.
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1: The Bluest Eye (1970)
2: Sula (1973)
3: Song of Solomon (1977)
4: Tar Baby (1981)
5: Beloved (1987)
6: Jazz (1992)
7: Paradise (1997)
8: Love (2003)
9: A Mercy (2008); Home (2012); God Help the Child (2015)
Coda
Works Cited
Index

SUSAN MAYBERRY is Professor of English at Alfred University. She is author of Can't I Love What I Criticize: The Masculine and Morrison (2007; winner of the book award of the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender, Copenhagen Business School, 2009).

"This is the first book to discuss and theorize the critical reception of Morrison's fiction; in this it is an invaluable resource for Morrison scholars. I certainly wish it had been available to me when I was writing my book on Morrison! The book will also be of interest to researchers and students in the fields of cultural and American studies, as it provides an original and astute cultural history of the United States in its foregrounding of the shifting cultural and historical context of Morrison's oeuvre." Andrea O’Reilly, York University, author of Toni Morrison and Motherhood: A Politics of the Heart
"There is nothing quite like this study on the market. It will be an extremely helpful reference work for anyone writing about Toni Morrison." Keith Byerman, Indiana State University, author of Remembering the Past in Contemporary African American Fiction

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9781571139344

July 2021

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9781800102118

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9781800102125

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Title Details

316 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Literary Criticism in Perspective

Imprint: Camden House