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The Timeless Toni Morrison

The Past and The Present in Toni Morrison’s Fiction. A Tribute to Toni Morrison on Occasion of Her 85th Birthday

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Edited By Agnieszka Łobodziec and Blossom N. Fondo

The book presents a cultural study of Toni Morrison’s fiction, focused on her representations of the past and present, along with the relationship between the two. The authors analyze Morrison’s texts not solely as aesthetic, autonomous objects but as manifestations of a cultural and creative practice closely related to actuality. They examine various incorporations of history in Morrison’s writings. The contributions search out thematic continuities as well as discernable ruptures in the texts while noting futuristic tendencies in Morrison's novels and the texts’ envisagement of the human race.

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Introduction

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This volume entitled The Timeless Toni Morrison has emerged in celebration of Toni Morrison’s 85th birthday in 2016.

Toni Morrison frequently underscores the role of history as a significant referent in the process of her fictional writing. In that vein, literary historical representations may evoke debate. Questions pertaining to the objectiveness or subjectiveness of the fictional portrayals, their correspondence between historical fact and fiction, the level of traditional realist artistry, and being overly literary representational might arise. Critics have applied the concepts neorealism, historical criticism, social realism, magical realism, and poetic realism in their analyses of Morrison’s fiction. Over against such theoretical polemics, Morrison accentuates historical accuracy. She seeks to fuse her artistic imagination with historical knowledge obtained by in-depth research. For instance, in response to the ubiquitous classification of her fiction as magic or incredible Toni Morrison contends, “I consider that my single gravest responsibility (in spite of that magic) is not to lie.” The novelist even ascribes more truth to fiction as opposed to documented history and other history-laden texts. She aspires to discover and reconstruct the truth by imagining the interior lives of her characters. For instance, with regard to slave narratives, she asserts, “I’m trying to fill in the blanks that the slave narratives left – to part the veil that was so frequently drawn, to implement the stories that I heard – then the approach that’s most productive and most trustworthy for me is the recollection that moves from the image to the...

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