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Toni MorrisonMemory and Meaning$
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Adrienne Lanier Seward and Justine Tally

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628460193

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2015

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628460193.001.0001

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Toni Morrison’s Performance of the Word in Song of Solomon

Toni Morrison’s Performance of the Word in Song of Solomon

The Folkloric, the Fantastic, and “Some Old Folk’s Lie”

Chapter:
(p.185) Toni Morrison’s Performance of the Word in Song of Solomon
Source:
Toni Morrison
Author(s):

Alma Jean Billingslea Brown

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781628460193.003.0015

In Morrison’s third novel, Song of Solomon, the relationship between performance as “make-believe” which, borrowing from Richard Schechner’s Performances Studies, sustains the boundary between reality and the world of performance and performance as “make belief,” which worries the line between reality and performativity, is one that obtains throughout the text but especially in thematic definitions of the individual and the communal and the rootedness of community and culture. This chapter examines how Song of Solomon inscribes the phenomenon of rootedness through flying in the contending utterances of the folkloric and the fantastic. In particular, it establishes how stories and the storytelling event constitute the vehicle for the inscription. Dialogically implicated in each other, the folkloric and the fantastic exist for each other. Each challenges, penetrates and carries the accent of the other to sustain and mediate the oppositional belief systems which, in Bakhtin’s sense, mark the “style of the whole.” (150 words)

Keywords:   Song of Solomon, Bakhtin, folklore, performativity, rootedness

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