Bluest Eye (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© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye
Harold Bloom.
Chelsea House, 1999
Librarian’s tip: This is a book of literary criticism
Toni Morrison: A Critical Companion
Missy Dehn Kubitschek.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Bluest Eye (1970)"
'The Bluest Eye': Notes on History, Community, and Black Female Subjectivity
Kuenz, Jane.
African American Review, Vol. 27, No. 3, Fall 1993
Toni Morrison's World of Fiction
Karen Carmean.
Whitston, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "The Bluest Eye"
The Novels of Toni Morrison: The Search for Self and Place within the Community
Patrick Bryce Bjork.
Peter Lang, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. III "The Bluest Eye: Selfhood and Community"
Becoming and Bonding: Contemporary Feminism and Popular Fiction by American Women Writers
Katherine B. Payant.
Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "The Bluest Eye: A Sad Black Girlhood" begins on p. 168
The Fourth Face: The Image of God in Toni Morrison's 'The Bluest Eye.'
Alexander, Allen.
African American Review, Vol. 32, No. 2, Summer 1998
The Blues Aesthetic in Toni Morrison's the Bluest Eye
Moses, Cat.
African American Review, Vol. 33, No. 4, Winter 1999
Refiguring the Father: New Feminist Readings of Patriarchy
Patricia Yaeger; Beth Kowaleski-Wallace.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Naked Father in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye"
Focusing on the Wrong Front: Historical Displacement, the Maginot Line, and the Bluest Eye
Gillan, Jennifer.
African American Review, Vol. 36, No. 2, Summer 2002
The Artist as Outsider in the Novels of Toni Morrison and Virginia Woolf
Lisa Williams.
Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of The Bluest Eye begins on p. 53
Writing the Subject: Bildung and the African American Text
Gunilla Theander Kester.
Peter Lang, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "A Double Code: Language and the Female Subject in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and Gayl Jones' Eva's Man"
Race, Gender, and Desire: Narrative Strategies in the Fiction of Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker
Elliott Butler-Evans.
Temple University Press, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "Racial Discourse, Aesthetics, and Desire in Morrison's The Bluest Eye and Sula"
Unflinching Gaze: Morrison and Faulkner Re-Envisioned
Carol A. Kolmerten; Stephen M. Ross; Judith Bryant Wittenberg.
University Press of Mississippi, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Black Matters on the Dixie Limited: As I Lay Dying and The Bluest Eye" and "Untold Stories: Black Daughters in Absalom! Absalom! and The Bluest Eye"
Representation, Race, and the "Language" of the Ineffable in Toni Morrison's Narrative
Khayati, Abdellatif.
African American Review, Vol. 33, No. 2, Summer 1999
Toni Morrison and the Burden of the Passing Narrative
Bennett, Juda.
African American Review, Vol. 35, No. 2, Summer 2001
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