Nobel Prize Laureate: Toni Morrison

 Toni Morrison’s first novel,The Bluest Eye was her effort to depict racial self-loathing and to question the standards of beauty in America.

In an afterword of the 1999 edition of The Bluest Eye Morrison states that “…even the casual racial contempt can cause devastation.”

 Award winning editor and writer Dorothy Allison wrote of  Morrison’s talent in handling the narrator, Claudia, of The Bluest Eye:

“It was the storyteller, Claudia, who looked at the world with unflinching honesty, the beauty, and the ugliness alike. I understood her the way she raked her own soul, holding herself responsible for sins she should  never have thought hers.”

To be awarded a Nobel Prize for literature a writer must, of course, write exceptionally well but also contribute to the bettering of our world.

 Toni Morrison writes exceptionally well as is evident in this lovely metaphor towards the end of The Bluest Eye:

And the years folded up like pocket handkerchiefs.

Or this from her masterpiece Beloved:

To get to a place where you could love anything you chose–not to need permission for desire–well now, that was freedom.

As far as contributing to the betterment of our world Morrison’s books deal with the inequalities in our society, the devastating effects of racism, incest, war and rape.

In her latest novel Home (2012) Morrison tackles once again the universal problem of self-hood spreading the message that one can never really find one’s worth in a spiritual impoverished home.

 Her main character Frank Money is an angry, broken veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars.

A good book, says Morrison in the afterword of  The Bluest Eye, not only touches you but also moves you. Morrison’s novels do both.

9780307740915

  Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

30 thoughts on “Nobel Prize Laureate: Toni Morrison

  1. Toni Morrison is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters.

  2. I know of her, of course, but have yet to read her work. Now I want to. I love that she wrote the book she wanted to read…. and that her advocacy is such a part of her artistry. Hope you are well, Carol!

    • I am well, Diahann, thank you for your concern. A long time ago, when I was teaching Business English, I couldn’t find material I liked and so created my own. I finally ended up publishing that material with a NY publisher and so I think that wanting to write the book we want to read is really good advice. I like her style of writing…her language is so rich but then again this could be said of all Nobel Laureates in Literature. Keep well. 🙂

  3. A wonderful choice for a spotlight, Carol. Morrison has done so much to better us and to invite us to think about ourselves, even when it’s not comfortable to do that.

    • I have just one more woman Nobel Prize Laureate to go and I’ll have completed this series. It’s been an enriching experience for me and it makes me happy to know that it also benefits others, such as you. 🙂

  4. One of the greats, with a good eye for the important detail. Love her quote on freedom. She did more than write well, indeed, she was/is the change she wanted to see.

  5. I have always admired Toni Morrison, but have not read more than one of her books, Carol! I am so glad you reminded me of her. This is one of the best parts of blogging, reconnecting with fine authors, artists, musicians and other talented people. You are a gift to us, Carol!

      • Thank you. You know after you posted this, the tragedies began, with the rioting in Missouri. I feel that there still remains disquiet, an undercurrent of racism on one side of the ‘wall’ between peoples, along with a raw, self-loathing wound, that hurts the other side of the rift. This was so timely, Carol. Wish that people could write when they are in pain, instead of exploding into anger. ~Robin

  6. Fascinating as always Carol. I’d like to think that I write books that I love to read too. Now, if I can only live long enough to read all these wonderful books you feature! 🙂

    • Writing a book, as you know, is a LOT of work and so we better love it – not just the process but the finished product.Writing a book we love to read is a sure fire way to keep up our motivation. If we’re not interested in our work then we can’t expect others to be. 🙂

  7. Congrats for your post, Carol! excellent as usually… 🙂 wow, what a talented contemporary writer and such a beautiful LADY – une personne de qualité… she’s been very popular, admired and appreciated in France for decades… she’s often made me think of Maya Angelou(RIP)…

  8. I so appreciate the spotlight on one of the great writers of all times. The depth of Morrison’s novels; the lyrical nature of her words and structure; the exploration into the human mind and heart are elements writers and readers crave and devour. She is so worthy of one of the greatest prizes in literature.

  9. Thank you for spotlighting one of the greatest writers of all time. The depth of Morrison’s stories; the complexity of her characters; the lyrical presentation of words and structure make readers and writers crave and devour her works. She is so very worthy of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

  10. NPR had an interesting story yesterday on the need for diversity in American publishing. Morrison, of course, was noted as one of the few non-white household names that readers might recognize. There are undoubtedly other writers from diverse backgrounds who are as talented as she is—but as the story noted, the overwhelming majority of agents, editors, marketers, and senior executives are white. And even those with the best intentions of bringing new writers to the public often don’t recognize the appeal that these poorly represented groups could have in the diverse marketplace that is today’s world. Morrison’s work should be an obvious example that there is cross-cultural appeal and interest in reading books by diverse authors.

    • Thanks for sharing this. 🙂 The color of one’s skin shouldn’t matter as to whether a story is great. Morrison wrote much about injustice and she brought to the forefront what it was like to live in a society that is governed by whites. To read her is to get an inside view of what it’s like being the victim of prejudice because of one’s color. That theme was close to her heart.

  11. I studied Tony Morrison as part of my degree in American Literature and I came to love her deeply. The first novel I read by her (and still one of my favourites) was ‘Sula’. Great novel also about female friendship. Thanks for the post.

I'd love to hear your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s