Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison
Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

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Synopsis

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Beloved and Jazz now gives us a learned, stylish, and immensely persuasive work of literary criticism that promises to change the way we read American literature even as it opens a new chapter in the American dialogue on race.

Toni Morrison's brilliant discussions of the "Africanist" presence in the fiction of Poe, Melville, Cather, and Hemingway leads to a dramatic reappraisal of the essential characteristics of our literary tradition. She shows how much the themes of freedom and individualism, manhood and innocence, depended on the existence of a black population that was manifestly unfree--and that came to serve white authors as embodiments of their own fears and desires.

Written with the artistic vision that has earned Toni Morrison a pre-eminent place in modern letters, Playing in the Dark will be avidly read by Morrison admirers as well as by students, critics, and scholars of American literature.

"By going for the American literary jugular...she places her arguments...at the very heart of contemporary public conversation about what it is to be authentically and originally American. [She] boldly...reimagines and remaps the possibility of America."
--Chicago Tribune

"Toni Morrison is the closest thing the country has to a national writer."
The New York Times Book Review


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Toni Morrison

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Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye, Beloved (made into a major film), Paradise and, most recently, Home. She has also received the National Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction. In addition to Desdemona her theatrical work includes writing the text for Margaret Garner (music composed by Richard Danielpour) and Dreaming Emmett, an published play directed by Gilbert Moses and performed at the Marketplace Capitol Repertory Theater of Albany. Ms. Morrison has written lyrics for Kathleen Battle (commissioned by Carnegie Hall), Sylvia McNair, Jessye Norman, and Andre Previn. Ms. Morrison founded the Princeton Atelier which for fifteen years has brought actors, composers, writers, and artists of all genres together to work with students on the artists' own projects. Several of her novels including The Bluest Eye have been adapted for the stage.Rokia Traoré is a Victoires de la Musique award-winning Malian singer, songwriter and guitarist.Peter Sellars is one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the performing arts in America and abroad. A visionary artist, Sellars is known for his groundbreaking interpretations of classic works.
 
Published July 24, 2007 by Vintage. 124 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Playing in the Dark

Publishers Weekly

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Novelist Morrison takes a turn as a literary critic, examining the American literary imagination and finding it obsessed with the white/black polarity.

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