Beloved (by Toni Morrison)

Morrison, Toni

Toni Morrison, 1931–, American writer, b. Lorain, Ohio, as Chloe Ardelia (later Anthony) Wofford; grad. Howard Univ. (B.A., 1953), Cornell (M.F.A., 1955). Her fiction is noted for its poetic language, lush detail, emotional intensity, and sensitive observation of American life as viewed from a variety of African-American perspectives. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye (1970), is the story of a girl ruined by a racist society and its violence. Song of Solomon (1977; National Book Award) established her as one of America's leading novelists. It concerns a middle-class man who achieves self-knowledge through the discovery of his rural black heritage. Her later fiction includes Beloved (1987; Pulitzer Prize), a powerful account of mother love, murder, and the legacy of slavery; and Jazz (1992), a tale of love and murder set in Harlem in the 1920s. Her other novels are Sula (1973), Tar Baby (1981), Paradise (1997), Love (2003), A Mercy (2008), and Home (2012).

Among Morrison's other works are the essay collections Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power (1992) and Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992); several children's books, including The Big Box (2000), written with her son, Slade; a play, Dreaming Emmett (1986); a song cycle, Honey and Me (1992), written with André Previn; an opera libretto, Margaret Garner (2003); and, in collaboration with Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré, Desdemona (2011), a dramatic and musical reinterpretation of Shakespeare's Othello. Awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature, she was the first African American to win the coveted prize. Morrison, who was an influential editor at Random House for nearly two decades, has been a professor at Princeton since 1989 and was the founder (1994) of the Princeton Atelier, a writers' and performers' workshop.

See D. Taylor-Guthrie, ed., Conversations with Toni Morrison (1994) and C. Y. Denard, ed., Toni Morrison: Conversations (2008); studies by B. W. Jones (1985), A. I. Vinson (1985), N. Y. McKay, ed. (1988), H. Bloom (1990, repr. 2005), H. L. Gates, Jr., and K. A. Appiah, ed. (1993), P. Page (1995), N. J. Peterson, ed. (1997), L. Peach (1995 and, as ed., 1998), D. L. Middleton, ed. (2000), S. A. Stave, ed. (2006), J. L. Carlacio (2007), S. N. Mayberry (2007), J. L. J. Heinert (2008), L. V. D. Jennings (2008), R. Lister (2009), and K. Zauditu-Selassie (2009).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Understanding Toni Morrison's Beloved and Sula: Selected Essays and Criticisms of the Works by the Nobel Prize-Winning Author
Solomon O. Iyasere; Marla W. Iyasere.
Whitston, 2000
Toni Morrison: A Critical Companion
Missy Dehn Kubitschek.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Beloved (1987)"
The Novels of Toni Morrison: The Search for Self and Place within the Community
Patrick Bryce Bjork.
Peter Lang, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VII "Beloved: The Paradox of a Past and Present Self and Place"
'Beloved': Ideologies in Conflict, Improvised Subjects
Keizer, Arlene R.
African American Review, Vol. 33, No. 1, Spring 1999
Models of Memory and Romance: The Dual Endings of Toni Morrison's Beloved
Carden, Mary Paniccia.
Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 45, No. 4, Winter 1999
Toni Morrison's Beloved and the Apotropaic Imagination
Kathleen Marks.
University of Missouri Press, 2002
Toni Morrison's Developing Class Consciousness
Doreatha Drummond Mbalia.
Susquehanna University Press, 2004 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Beloved: Solidarity as Solution"
"To Be Loved and Cry Shame": A Psychological Reading of Toni Morrison's Beloved
Koolish, Lynda.
MELUS, Vol. 26, No. 4, Winter 2001
"From the Seen to the Told": The Construction of Subjectivity in Toni Morrison's Beloved
Fuston-White, Jeanna.
African American Review, Vol. 36, No. 3, Fall 2002
Truth in Timbre: Morrison's Extension of Slave Narrative Song in Beloved
Capuano, Peter J.
African American Review, Vol. 37, No. 1, Spring 2003
'Beloved' and the Problem of Mourning
Heffernan, Teresa.
Studies in the Novel, Vol. 30, No. 4, Winter 1998
Narrative and Community Crisis in Beloved
Hinson, D. Scot.
MELUS, Vol. 26, No. 4, Winter 2001
"Postmodern Blackness": Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' and the End of History
Davis, Kimberly Chabot.
Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 44, No. 2, Summer 1998
Historical Nightmares and Imaginative Violence in American Women's Writings
Amy S. Gottfried.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Passages Home, Journeys Outward: A Reading of Toni Morrison's Beloved"
Toni Morrison's World of Fiction
Karen Carmean.
Whitston, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Trilogy in Progress: Beloved and Jazz"
"To Take the Sin out of Slicing Trees ...": The Law of the Tree in 'Beloved.'
Bonnet, Michele.
African American Review, Vol. 31, No. 1, Spring 1997
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