February 18, 2014
In 1970, with her debut novel The Bluest Eye, the former Chloe Ardelia Wofford taught us that seeing is hard-wired with being, that racism is woven into and writ large upon the American body politic. We are talking, of course, about TONI MORRISON (born 1931), whose other best-known novels — Sula and Song of Solomon — were the prelude to a blockbuster novel representing the most profound literary meditation on the consequences of slavery since Faulkner’s Light in August. With a narrative range that incorporated elements of the Yoknapatawpha-weaving Southern sage’s genius for internal dialogue (“If they put an iron circle around your neck I will bite it away”), coupled with lessons learned from Gabriel García Márquez and James Joyce, Morrison clawed a fiction — Beloved — out of the very soul of the Americas and beyond. The Nobel Prize in Literature that came her way in 1993 was almost an anti-climax.
READ MORE about members of the Postmodernist Generation (1924-33).