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Toni Morrison and the Maternal

From «The Bluest Eye» to «Home»

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Linda Wagner-Martin

Linda Wagner-Martin’s study of African American writer Toni Morrison’s work, beginning with The Bluest Eye in 1970 and continuing through her 2012 novel Home, describes Morrison as an inherently original novelist who was shaped throughout her career by her role within families. Morrison speaks of herself, compellingly and frequently, as daughter, sister, wife, mother, mentor, and friend. The energy from playing these roles in her life helped to lead to her thoroughly distinctive fiction. The book charts Morrison’s changing vision as well. Morrison’s deeper and deeper involvement in the history of African Americans within the United States leads to her study of the urban in Jazz, of the all-black Western towns in Paradise, of the upper-middle class in Love, as well as her poignant study of the returning Korean War veteran in Home. Morrison’s 2008 A Mercy, set in the seventeenth century, reprises much of the power of the prize-winning Beloved and returns readers to the quintessential theme of parent-child relationships. In Morrison’s fictional world, drawing from the human and spiritual forces in both Africa and the United States provides some hope of a truly satisfying existence.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Wagner-Martin, Linda.Toni Morrison and the Maternal: From The Bluest Eyeto Home / Linda Wagner-Martin.pages cm. — (Modern American Literature: New Approaches; Vol. 67)Includes bibliographical references and index.1. Morrison, Toni—Criticism and interpretation. 2. Love, Maternal,in literature. 3. Motherhood in literature. I. Title.PS3563.O8749Z94   813’.54—dc23   2014016406ISBN 978-1-4331-2457-0 (paperback)ISBN 978-1-4539-1386-4 (e-book)ISSN 1078-0521

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de/.

© 2014 Linda Wagner-MartinPeter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York29 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10006www.peterlang.com

All rights reserved.Reprint or reproduction, even partially, in all forms such as microfilm,xerography, microfiche, microcard, and offset strictly prohibited.

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