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Toni Morrison and the Maternal

From «The Bluest Eye» to «Home»


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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Series index


Yoshinobu Hakutani, General Editor

The books in this series deal with many of the major writers known as American realists, modernists, and post-modernists from 1880 to the present. This category of writers will also include less known ethnic and minority writers, a majority of whom are African American, some are Native American, Mexican American, Japanese American, Chinese American, and others. The series might also include studies on wellknown contemporary writers, such as James Dickey, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, John Barth, John Updike, and Joyce Carol Oates. In general, the series will reflect new critical approaches such as deconstructionism, new historicism, psychoanalytical criticism, gender criticism/feminism, and cultural criticism.

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Peter Lang Publishing

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New York, NY 10006

To order other books in this series, please contact our Customer Service Department at:

(800) 770-LANG (within the U.S.)

(212) 647-7706 (outside the U.S.)

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