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America's foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid? Drawing on her Norton Lectures, Toni Morrison takes up these and other vital questions bearing on identity in The Origin Of Others.
In her search for answers, the novelist considers her own memories as well as history, politics, and especially literature. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Camara Laye are among the authors she examines. Readers of Morrison's fiction will welcome her discussions of some of her most celebrated books: Beloved, Paradise, and A Mercy. Morrison also writes about nineteenth-century literary efforts to romance slavery, contrasting them with the scientific racism of Samuel Cartwright and the banal diaries of the plantation overseer and slaveholder Thomas Thistlewood. She looks at configurations of blackness, notions of racial purity, and the ways in which literature employs skin colour to reveal character or drive narrative.
Expanding the scope of her concern, she also addresses globalization and the mass movement of peoples in this century. National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a foreword to Morrison's most personal work of nonfiction to date.
A vital new non-fiction collection from one of the most celebrated and revered writers of our time 'Word-work is sublime, she thinks, because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference-the way in which we are like no other life. We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.' The Nobel Lecture in Literature, 1993 Spanning four decades, these essays, speeches and meditations interrogate the world around us. They are concerned with race, gender and globalisation. The sweep of American history and the current state of politics. The duty of the press and the role of the artist. Throughout A Mouth Full of Blood our search for truth, moral integrity and expertise is met by Toni Morrison with controlled anger, elegance and literary excellence. The collection is structured in three parts and these are heart-stoppingly introduced by a prayer for the dead of 9/11, a meditation on Martin Luther King and a eulogy for James Baldwin. Morrison's Nobel lecture, on the power of language, is accompanied by lectures to Amnesty International and the Newspaper Association of America. She speaks to graduating students and visitors to both the Louvre and America's Black Holocaust Museum. She revisits The Bluest Eye, Sula and Beloved; reassessing the novels that have become touchstones for generations of readers. A Mouth Full of Blood is a powerful, erudite and essential gathering of ideas that speaks to us all. 'To what do we pay greatest allegiance? Family, language group, culture, country, gender? Religion, race? And, if none of these matter, are we urbane, cosmopolitan or simply lonely? In other words, how do we decide where we belong? What convinces us that we do?' The Alexander Lecture series, 2002
“She was our conscience. Our seer. Our truth-teller. She was a magician with language, who understood the power of words.” - Oprah Winfrey
A vital non-fiction collection from one of the most celebrated and revered American writers
Spanning four decades, these essays, speeches and meditations interrogate the world around us. They are concerned with race, gender and globalisation. The sweep of American history and the current state of politics. The duty of the press and the role of the artist. Throughout Mouth Full of Blood our search for truth, moral integrity and expertise is met by Toni Morrison with controlled anger, elegance and literary excellence.
The collection is structured in three parts and these are heart-stoppingly introduced by a prayer for the dead of 9/11, a meditation on Martin Luther King and a eulogy for James Baldwin. Morrison’s Nobel lecture, on the power of language, is accompanied by lectures to Amnesty International and the Newspaper Association of America.
She speaks to graduating students and visitors to both the Louvre and America’s Black Holocaust Museum. She revisitsThe Bluest Eye, Sula and Beloved; reassessing the novels that have become touchstones for generations of readers.
Mouth Full of Blood is a powerful, erudite and essential gathering of ideas that speaks to us all. It celebrates Morrison’s extraordinary contribution to the literary world.
Toni Morrison's fierce and provocative novel exposes the damage adults wreak on children, and how this echoes through the generations. Sweetness wants to love her child, Bride, but she struggles to love her as a mother should. Bride, now glamorous, grown up, ebony-black and panther-like, wants to love her man, Booker, but she finds herself betrayed by a moment in her past, a moment borne of a desperate burn for the love of her mother. Booker cannot fathom Bride's depths, with his own love-lorn past bending him out of shape. Can they find a way through the damage wrought on their blameless childhood souls, to light and happiness, free from pain? BY THE NOBEL-PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR OF BELOVED 'Haunting. . . Moving. . . Fearless. . . . God Help the Child yet again proves that Toni Morrison is an icon' Bustle Winner of the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction
What exactly is goodness? Where is it found in the literary imagination? Toni Morrison, one of American letters' greatest voices, pondered these perplexing questions in her celebrated Ingersoll Lecture, delivered at Harvard University in 2012 and published now for the first time. Perhaps because it is overshadowed by the more easily defined evil, goodness often escapes our attention. Recalling many literary examples, from Ahab to Coetzee's Michael K, Morrison seeks the essence of goodness and ponders its significant place in her writing. She considers the concept in relation to unforgettable characters from her own works of fiction and arrives at conclusions that are both eloquent and edifying. In a lively interview conducted for this book, Morrison further elaborates on her lecture's ideas, discussing goodness not only in literature but in society and history-particularly black history, which has responded to centuries of brutality with profound creativity. Morrison's essay is followed by a Series of responses by scholars in the fields of religion, ethics, history, and literature to her thoughts on goodness and evil, mercy and love, racism and self-destruction, Language and liberation, together with close examination of literary and theoretical expressions from her works. Each of these contributions, written by a scholar of religion, considers the legacy of slavery and how it continues to shape our memories, our complicities, our outcries, our lives, our communities, our literature, and our faith. In addition, the Contributors engage the religious orientation in Morrison's novels so that readers who encounter her many memorable characters such as Sula, Beloved, or Frank Money will learn and appreciate how Morrison's notions of goodness and mercy also reflect her understanding of the sacred and the human spirit.
Toni Morrison--author of Song of Solomon and Tar Baby--is a writer of remarkable powers: her novels, brilliantly acclaimed for their passion, their dazzling language and their lyric and emotional force, combine the unassailable truths of experience and emotion with the vision of legend and imagination.
It is the story--set in post-Civil War Ohio--of Sethe, an escaped slave who has risked death in order to wrench herself from a living death; who has lost a husband and buried a child; who has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad: a woman of "iron eyes and backbone to match." Sethe lives in a small house on the edge of town with her daughter, Denver, her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, and a disturbing, mesmerizing intruder who calls herself Beloved.
Sethe works at "beating back the past," but it is alive in all of them. It keeps Denver fearful of straying from the house. It fuels the sadness that has settled into Baby Suggs' "desolated center where the self that was no self made its home." And to Sethe, the past makes itself heard and felt incessantly: in memories that both haunt and soothe her...in the arrival of Paul D ("There was something blessed in his manner. Women saw him and wanted to weep"), one of her fellow slaves on the farm where she had once been kept...in the vivid and painfully cathartic stories she and Paul D tell each other of their years in captivity, of their glimpses of freedom...and, most powerfully, in the apparition of Beloved, whose eyes are expressionless at their deepest point, whose doomed childhood belongs to the hideous logic of slavery and who, as daughter, sister and seductress, has now come from the "place over there" to claim retribution for what she lost and for what was taken from her.
Sethe's struggle to keep Beloved from gaining full possession of her present--and to throw off the long, dark legacy of her past--is at the center of this profoundly affecting and startling novel. But its intensity and resonance of feeling, and the boldness of its narrative, lift it beyond its particulars so that it speaks to our experience as an entire nation with a past of both abominable and ennobling circumstance.
In Beloved, Toni Morrison has given us a great American novel.
i Morrison was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Literature for Beloved.
Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in.Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison's virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.
A stirring exploration of war, race and belonging from the Nobel-prize winning author of Beloved. An angry and self-loathing veteran of the Korean War, Frank Money finds himself back in racist America after enduring trauma on the front lines that left him with more than just physical scars. As Frank revisits the memories from childhood and the war that leave him questioning his shattered sense of self, he unearths the courage he thought he'd lost forever. It is with incantatory power that Morrison's language reveals an apparently defeated man finding his manhood - and, finally, his home. 'No other writer in my lifetime, or perhaps ever, has married so completely an understanding of the structures of power with knowledge of the human heart' Kamila Shamsie, Guardian Winner of the PEN/Saul Bellow award for achievement in American fiction
A library card unlocks a new life for a young girl in this picture book about the power of imagination, from Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. On one gray afternoon, Louise makes a trip to the library. With the help of a new library card and through the transformative power of books, what started out as a dull day turns into one of surprises, ideas, and imagination! Inspired by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison's experience working in a library as a young girl, this engaging picture book celebrates the wonders of reading, the enchanting capacity of the imagination, and, of course, the splendor of libraries.
A library card unlocks a new life for a young girl in this picture
book about the power of imagination, from the Nobel Prize-winning
author Toni Morrison.
The Bluest Eye chronicles the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family in 1940s Ohio: Pauline, Cholly, Sam and Pecola. Pecola, unlovely and unloved, prays each night for blue eyes like those of her privileged blond white schoolfellows. She becomes the focus of the mingled love and hatred engendered by her family's frailty and the world's cruelty as the novel moves toward a savage but poignant resolution.
Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel Garci a Ma rquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family's origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
As girls, Nel and Sula shared each other's discoveries and dreams in the poor black mid-West of their childhood. Then Sula ran away to live her dreams and Nel got married. Ten years later Sula returns and no one, least of all Nel, trusts her. Sula is the story of the fear that makes people accept self-pity; the fear that will not countenance escape and that justifies itself through myth and legend. Sula herself is cast as a witch and demon by the people who resent her strength. They attack her with the most pervasive weapon of all, the weapon of language and story. But Sula is a woman of power, a wayward force who challenges the smallness of a world that tries to hold her down.
It is the mid-1800s. At Sweet Home in Kentucky, an era is ending as slavery comes under attack from the abolitionists. The worlds of Halle and Paul D. are to be destroyed in a cataclysm of torment and agony. The world of Sethe, however, is to turn from one of love to one of violence and death - the death of Sethe's baby daughter Beloved, whose name is the single word on the tombstone, who died at her mother's hands, and who will return to claim retribution.
It was perhaps the most wretchedly aspersive race and gender scandal of recent times: the dramatic testimony of Anita Hill at the Senate hearings on the confirmation of Clarence Thomas as Supreme Court Justice. Yet even as the televised proceedings shocked and galvanized viewers not only in this country but the world over, they cast a long shadow on essential issues that define America.
It is the mid-1800s. At Sweet Home in Kentuckhy, an era is ending as slavery comes under attack from the abolitionists. The worlds of Halleand Paul D. are to be destroyed in a cataclysm of torment and agony. The world of Sethe, however, is to turn from one of love to one of violence and death - the death of Sethe's baby daughter Beloved, whosename is the single word on the tombstone, who died at her mother's hands, and who will return to claim retribution.
"Rumors had been whispered for more than a year. Outrages that had
been accumulating all along took shape as evidence. A mother was
knocked down the stairs by her cold-eyed daughter. Four damaged
infants were born in one family. Daughters refused to get out of
bed. Brides disappeared on their honeymoons. Two brothers shot each
other on New Year's Day. Trips to Demby for VD shots common. And
what went on at the Oven these days was not to be believed . . .
The proof they had been collecting since the terrible discovery in
the spring could not be denied: the one thing that connected all
these catastrophes was in the Convent. And in the Convent were
This is the story of Macon 'Milkman' Dead, heir to the richest black family in a midwestern town, as he makes a voyage of rediscovery, travelling southwards geographically and inwards spirituality. Through the enlightenment of one man the novel recapitulates the history of slavery and liberation.
INCLUDES A READING GUIDE Terrible, unspeakable things happened to Sethe at Sweet Home, the farm where she lived as a slave for so many years until she escaped to Ohio. Her new life is full of hope but eighteen years later she is still not free. Sethe's new home is not only haunted by the memories of her past but also by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. **One of the BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World**
In a Caribbean mansion the millionaire, Valerian, and his younger wife, Margaret, live as if in a troubled sleep. Their comforts are supplied by a black servant couple. Into this family, come a beautiful black protegee of Valerian (a student at the Sorbonne in Paris) and Son, a criminal on the run, uneducated, violent, contemptuous - an American black from small-town Florida. Each is a threat to the other’s identity…
Four young women are brutally attacked in a convent near an all-black town in America in the mid-1970s. The inevitability of this attack, and the attempts to avert it, lie at the heart of Paradise. Spanning the birth of the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, the counter culture and the politics of the late 1970s, deftly manipulating past, present and future, this novel of mysterious motives reveals the interior lives of the citizens of the town with astonishing clarity. The drama of its people - from the four young women and their elderly protector, to conservative businessmen, rednecks, a Civil Rights minister and veterans of three wars - richly evokes clashes that have bedevilled American society: between race and racelessness; patriarchy and matriarchy; religion and magic; freedom and belonging; promiscuity and fidelity. Magnificent in its scope, Paradise is a revelation in the intensity of its portrayal of human complexity and in the sheer force of its narrative.
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe's new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved""is a towering achievement.
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