Morrison ponders the effect that living in a historically racialized society has had on American writing in the 19th and 20th centuries. She argues that race has become a metaphor, a way of referring to forces, events and forms of social decay, economic division and human panic. Her point is that the central characteristics of American literature - individualism, masculinity, the insistence upon innocence coupled to an obsession with figurations of death and hell - are responses to a dark and abiding Africanist presence. Through her investigation of black characters, narrative strategies, and idiom in the fiction of white American writers, Morrison provides a daringly original perspective that aims to alter conventional notions about American literature. She considers Willa Cather and the impact of race on concept and plot; turns to Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville to examines the black force that figures so significantly in the literature of early America; and discusses the implications of the Africanist presence at the heart of "Huckleberry Finn". A final chapter on Ernest Hemingway is an exposition of the racial subtext that glimmers beneath the surface plots of his fiction.
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(210mm x 140mm x 17mm)
Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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Author Biography - Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford; February 18, 1931) is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon and Beloved. She was also commissioned to write the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005. She won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved and the Nobel Prize in 1993. On May 29, 2012, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.