Sula (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's Sula
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. 4 "Sula (1973)"
Decade of Novels: Fiction of the 1970s : Form and Challenge
Charles Berryman.
Whitston, 1990
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Toni Morrison: Sula"
Toni Morrison's World of Fiction
Karen Carmean.
Whitston, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Sula"
Toni Morrison's 'Sula': A Satire on Binary Thinking
Bergenholtz, Rita A.
African American Review, Vol. 30, No. 1, Spring 1996
"New World Woman": Toni Morrison's Sula
Galehouse, Maggie.
Papers on Language & Literature, Fall 1999
'Sula' and 'Beloved': Images of Cain in the Novels of Toni Morrison
Jones, Carolyn M.
African American Review, Vol. 27, No. 4, Winter 1993
War and Peace: Transfigured Categories and the Politics of 'Sula.' (Women's Culture Issue)
Hunt, Patricia.
African American Review, Vol. 27, No. 3, Fall 1993
Something Other Than a Family Quarrel: The Beautiful Boys in Morrison's Sula
Mayberry, Susan Neal.
African American Review, Vol. 37, No. 4, Winter 2003
Missing Peace in Toni Morrison's 'Sula' and 'Beloved.' (Female Afro-American Fiction Writer)
Lee, Rachel.
African American Review, Vol. 28, No. 4, Winter 1994
Faith of a (Woman) Writer
Alice Kessler-Harris; William McBrien.
Greenwood Press, 1988
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 26 "A Way of Ordering Experience: A Study of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and Sula"
The Novels of Toni Morrison: The Search for Self and Place within the Community
Patrick Bryce Bjork.
Peter Lang, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "Sula: The Contradictions of Self and Place"
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"
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