Toni Morrison: Forty Years in The Clearing


Toni Morrison: Forty Years in The Clearing



Toni Morrison, the only living American Nobel laureate in literature, published her first novel, The Bluest Eye, in 1970. In the ensuing forty-plus years, Morrison's work has become synonymous with the most significant literary art and intellectual engagements of our time. This collection, Toni Morrison: Forty Years in the Clearing, enables audiences and readers, critics and students, to review Morrison's cultural and literary impact and to consider the import and influence of her legacies in her multiple roles as writer, editor, publisher, reader, scholar, artist, and teacher over the last four decades.

What distinguishes this collection from the many other publications that engage Morrison's work is that the collection is not exclusively a work of critical interpretation or reference. This is the first publication to contextualize and to consider the interdisciplinary, artistic, and intellectual impacts of Toni Morrison using the formal fluidity and dynamism that characterize her work. Toni Morrison: Forty Years in The Clearing adopts Morrison's metaphor as articulated in her Pulitzer Prize-wining novel, Beloved. Morrison describes her clearing as "a wide-open place cut deep in the woods nobody knew for what . . . In the heat of every Saturday afternoon, she sat in the clearing while the people waited among the trees." Beloved's clearing is a complicated and dynamic space. Like the intricacies of Morrison's intellectual and artistic voyages, the figurative space she imagines is both verdant and deadly, a sanctuary and a prison. Morrison's vision invites consideration of these complexities and confronts these most basic human conundrums with courage, resolve and grace. Toni Morrison: Forty Years in the Clearing attempts to reproduce the character and spirit of this metaphorical terrain.



Publication Date



Bucknell University Press


Lewisburg, PA

Toni Morrison: Forty Years in The Clearing