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The Voices of Toni Morrison

Barbara Hill Rigney's study is a comprehensive examination of the novels of Toni Morrison informed by both feminist and African-American critical theory. In her analysis of Morrison's five novels - "Beloved", "The Bluest Eye", "Sula", "Song of Solomon" and "Tar Baby" - Rigney defines a black feminine/feminist aesthetic. The many "voices" of Toni Morrison, Rigney argues, are manifested in her radical use of language, her reformulations of self and identity, her reinterpretations of history as both fact and mythology, and her images of female desire. As Rigney describes Morrison's texts, they are characterized by deliberate and meaningful silences, by the movement beyond language into music, and by representations of magic realism and the conjure world. While Morrison's fictions disrupt traditional chronologies and diffuse linearity, they also bear historical witness to the realities and brutalities of slavery, reconstruction, depression and war, and thus, Rigney documents, they are always profoundly political. Rigney's study, like Morrison's novels, transcends traditional interpretations, maps new territory for postmodern fictions, and cultivates a common ground for a discourse on theory, race and gender.
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