Includes detailed analysis of the relationships between Eva, Hannah, and Sula, and reads the Jadine/Ondine relationship in terms of Patricia Hill Collins’s concept of the “othermother” (p. 237). Clearly and accessibly written, and not as theorized as many approaches to this topic. Ideal for first-year undergraduates.
Fultz, Lucille. “To Make Herself: Mother-Daughter Conflicts in Toni Morrison’s Sula and Tar Baby.” In Women of Color: Mother-Daughter Relationships in 20th-Century Literature. Edited by Elizabeth Brown-Guillory, 228–244. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.
This 150-page monograph by a distinguished Japanese scholar exemplifies widespread scholarly interest in Morrison in Japan. Reads the first six novels through Alice Walker’s “womanist” concept and its critique of mainstream US cultures. Accessibly written, and of most interest to undergraduates studying feminism, gender, and African American woman’s intellectual traditions.
Page, Philip. Dangerous Freedom: Fusion and Fragmentation in Toni Morrison’s Novels. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1995.
By incorporating Biblical references into his novel, one can see that Alan Paton is a religious man and feels that faith will give hope to his beloved country.
Book-length studies positioning Morrison in a comparative context began to appear around 2000. is a monograph that discusses the artist as outsider in Morrison and Virginia Woolf (for other comparisons of Morrison and Woolf, see Christian in , cited under , and , cited under . In an unexpected pairing, compares the critique of liberal ideology in Morrison and Pynchon. Developed from a doctoral thesis, it holds both writers in play throughout its four extensive, sometimes dense, but readable chapters, and is illuminating on the position of Morrison within American thought, literature, and postmodernism. In a slightly later monograph, meanwhile, positions Morrison in a postcolonial context alongside Coetzee and Wilson Harris. In long chapters on Coetzee, Harrison, and Morrison, Durrant posits that together these authors argue for the creation of a collective community. includes extensive discussion of Morrison, comparing her to Lorde and to Naylor, in a brilliant reassessment of African American women’s writing. pairs Morrison with Willa Cather in a five-chapter discussion of their shared thematics of gendered and racialized space, while positions Morrison within a tradition of postsecular fiction writers, including Pynchon, DeLillo, Momaday, Silko, Erdrich, and Ondaatje. situates Morrison within an innovative paradigm of African American and Caribbean writers. This is a very important context in which to consider Morrison, and the book is therefore invaluable to those with an advanced interest in the field and Morrison’s position within it. Finally, is an anthology that includes essays pairing Morrison with Margaret Walker and with Edwidge Danticat.
Schreiber, Evelyn. Subversive Voices: Eroticizing the Other in William Faulkner and Toni Morrison. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2001.
Taking a Lacanian approach, the last four chapters discuss The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, Beloved, and Paradise, while the first three treat Faulkner.
The final two chapters in this sophisticated comparative work examine Sula and Jazz, respectively, closely analyzing their formation of black identities—primarily through oral and aural media. Suitable for advanced undergraduates and beyond.
Sixteen chapters with contributions by longstanding Faulkner /Morrison scholars such as Duvall and Towner, but also important newcomers such as Jincai Yang, who writes on “Toni Morrison’s Critical Reception in China.”
Cowart, David. “Faulkner and Joyce in Morrison’s Song of Solomon.” In Toni Morrison’s Fiction: Contemporary Criticism. Edited by David Middleton, 95–108. New York: Garland, 1997.
Durrant, Sam. Postcolonial Narrative and the Work of Mourning: J. M. Coetzee, Wilson Harris, and Toni Morrison. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004.
King, Lovalerie, and Lynn Orilla Scott, eds. James Baldwin and Toni Morrison: Comparative Critical and Theoretical Essays. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
James, David. “‘Seeing Beneath the Formlessness’: James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Restorative Urbanism.” In Utopianism, Modernism, and Literature in the Twentieth Century. Edited by Alice Reeve-Tucker and Nathan Waddell, 168–181. New York and Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
Rigorous critique of the opera (score by Richard Danielpour, premiere 2005) for which Morrison wrote the libretto. While giving an invaluable account of the creation and production history of the opera, Kodat argues that it is an “unfortunate” project, “thoughtless . . . in its approach to the central ethical problem of ventriloquizing its subject” (p. 161).