In this introduction to the Nobel Prize-winning fiction of Toni Morrison, Jan Furman surveys six novels, a short story, and a book of criticism to reconstruct the development of Morrison's creative vision and to assess its influence on contemporary literature. She chronicles Morrison's growth as a writer, including accounts of her midwestern childhood; relatively late start on her literary career; and experiences as a full-time parent, teacher, lecturer, and editor at Random House, and traces the recurrent characters, themes, and settings that embody Morrison's literary philosophy. Demonstrating that Morrison strongly supports the idea that the artist must engender and interpret culture, Furman reveals the novelist's contribution to the expansion and redefinition of the American literary canon through her portrayal of the African American experience.
Jan Furman is an associate professor of English at the University of Michigan-Flint. She is an editor of Slavery in the Clover Bottoms: John McCline's Life in Slavery and during the Civil War and has published articles on nineteenth-century slave narrative and on contemporary African American literature.
"Significant, lucid, and perceptive …a well-crafted, thoroughly researched study that greatly enhances our understanding of Morrison's works."—American Literature
"Though academic in tone, the volume is accessible to general readers and offers useful information about Morrison's vision and beliefs."—Chattanooga Times
"Based on her rich analyses of the characters, themes and settings of Morrison texts, Furman contends that in developing her art Morrison transcends racial and linguistic boundaries …"—Charlene Taylor Evans, Texas Southern University
" … Furman's account of Toni Morrison's fiction is an agreeable, informative and direct commentary on her novels and on her social and literary criticism. Free from contemporary critical jargon, it traces the themes and concerns of the novels through Morrison's whole career."—Forum for Modern Language Studies