Instructor: Norton M/W/F 12:20 – 1:15pm
This course is an intensive study of the writing of Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel Laureate and major American novelist. We will read, discuss, and write about selections from her fiction, nonfiction essays, musical librettos, and documentary films featuring her and her work, in order to address some of the following questions: How does Toni Morrison represent American history in her fiction and how does she highlight the experiences of African Americans in American history? How does she write about the relationship between trauma, history, memory, and identity? How does she define and write about the self and constructions of selfhood? What is unusual and unique about her writing style – her vivid imagination, and her dramatization of American history in finely wrought and fascinating characters? What is the relationship between form and content in her work? How does she use language and narrative to challenge and expand our understanding of history, selfhood, and racial identity? We will also discuss how her work fits into the larger contexts of literary realism, diasporic studies, the African American literary tradition, and the American literary tradition writ large.