Toni Morrison

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.

Toni Morrison: Selected full-text books and articles

Toni Morrison: A Biography By Stephanie Li Greenwood, 2010
Toni Morrison By Richard Ansersen Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2006
Toni Morrison: A Critical Companion By Missy Dehn Kubitschek Greenwood Press, 1998
Reading Toni Morrison By Rachel Lister Greenwood Press, 2009
Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon By Harold Bloom Chelsea House, 1999
Librarian’s tip: This is a book of literary criticism
Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye By Harold Bloom Chelsea House, 1999
Librarian’s tip: This is a book of literary criticism
Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics By Yvette Christiansë Fordham University Press, 2013
Can't I Love What I Criticize? The Masculine and Morrison By Susan Neal Mayberry University of Georgia Press, 2007
Toni Morrison's Developing Class Consciousness By Doreatha Drummond Mbalia Susquehanna University Press, 2004 (2nd edition)
Toni Morrison's Beloved and the Apotropaic Imagination By Kathleen Marks University of Missouri Press, 2002
Contemporary Fiction By Jago Morrison Routledge, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Toni Morrison: Blackness and the Historical Imagination"
Unflinching Gaze: Morrison and Faulkner Re-Envisioned By Carol A. Kolmerten; Stephen M. Ross; Judith Bryant Wittenberg University Press of Mississippi, 1997
Becoming and Bonding: Contemporary Feminism and Popular Fiction by American Women Writers By Katherine B. Payant Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Toni Morrison: African American Women and Men, an Uneasy Alliance"
Black Women Writers and the American Neo-Slave Narrative: Femininity Unfettered By Elizabeth Ann Beaulieu Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Politics of Gender in Toni Morrison's Beloved: If 'A Man Ain't Nothing but a Man,' Then What Is a Woman?"
Of Dreams Deferred, Dead or Alive: African Perspectives on African-American Writers By Femi Ojo-Ade Greenwood Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Creative African Memory: Some Oral Sources of Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon"
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.