Toni MorrisonMemory and Meaning

Toni MorrisonMemory and Meaning

Adrienne Lanier Seward and Justine Tally

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9781628460193

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


Toni Morrison: Memory and Meaning includes essays by well-known international scholars focusing on the author’s literary production and including her very latest works—the theatrical production Desdemona, and her tenth and latest novel, Home. These original contributions are among the first scholarly analyses of these latest additions to her oeuvre and make the volume a valuable addition to potential readers and teachers eager to understand the position of Desdemona and Home within the wider scope of Morrison’s work. In fact, in Home we find a reworking of many of the tropes and themes that run throughout Morrison’s fiction, prompting the editors to organize the essays as they relate to or engage themes prevalent in Home and to use quotes from this latest novel as headings for the five different sections of this volume. The analyses presented in this volume also attest to the broad range of interdisciplinary specializations and interests in works that have now become classics in world literature. Not only do they enhance the breadth and depth of Morrison studies but they shift the paradigms for scholarship in religion, history, classical mythology, psychology, folklore, law and philosophy. The essays are divided into 5 sections, each entitled with a direct quotation from Home, and framed by two original, previously unpublished poems, written specifically for this volume in honor of Ms. Morrison: Rita Dove’s “The Buckeye” and Sonia Sanchez’s “Abayere Babo, Abayere Babo, Abayere Babo.” (235 words)

Table of Contents

The Buckeye

Rita Dove

Part I “This is where I belong”

“Dangerously Free”

Philip Weinstein

To Make a Humanist Black

Dana A. Williams

Part II “Regrets, excuses, righteousness, false memory and future plans mixed together or stood like soldiers in line”

Trying to Get Home

Cheryl A. Wall

The Pursuit of Memory

Claudine Raynaud


Lucille P. Fultz

Part III “Her garden was not Eden; it was so much more than that”

From Eden to Paradise

Shirley A. Stave

“And the Greatest of These”

Katherine Clay Bassard


Justine Tally

Part IV “Now it seemed both fresh and ancient, safe and demanding”

Part V “You can keep on writing but I Think You ought to Know What’s True”

Aesthetic Activity

Claudia Brodsky

Telling Stories

Jan Furman

“Newness Trembles Me”?

Mar Gallego-Durán

The Sound of Change

Lenore Kitts

End Matter