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Toni Morrison: Criticism and Reviews

The Internet Public Library features links to criticism about Toni Morrison's works.

Review of Love by Stephen M. Deusner on bookreporter.com.

Reviews of Love from publications around the country are on this page.

Review of Sula by Liz Keuffer on bookreporter.com.

Anniina's Toni Morrison page provides a number of links to criticism and reviews of Morrison's works.

Additional criticism and review of Toni Morrison's works can be found at your local public library.

The following reviews can be accessed online only by an individual who has a current library card through this address.

"In the Name of Memory."
Critic: Clarence Major.
(Major is an American poet, novelist, short story writer, critic, and educator.)
The American Book Review, Vol. 9, No. 6, January-February, 1988, p. 17.

…"Morrison is the type of writer who would tell me that she works hard to make the presence of the writer disappear. Even so. Even so. When one goes to a book for a great reading experience, one does not wish to escape the page one is looking at…"

"Nameless Ghosts: Possession and Dispossession in Beloved."
Critic: Deborah Horvitz.
Studies in American Fiction, Vol. 17, No. 2, Autumn, 1989, pp. 157-67.

"Toni Morrison's fifth novel, Beloved, explores the insidious degradation imposed upon all slaves, even when they were owned by, in Harriet Beecher Stowe's term, 'a man of humanity.' The novel is also about matrilineal ancestry and the relationships among enslaved, freed, alive, and dead mothers and daughters. Equally it is about…"

"Those Nights on the Harlem Rooftops."
Critic: Richard Eder.
(Eder is an American critic who has won a citation for excellence in reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle and a Pulitzer Prize for criticism.)
Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 19, 1992, pp. 3, 5.

"Jazz is a half-waking dream on a lumpy corncob mattress. Its voices shift, almost in a single sentence, from down-to-earth to intensely poetical. It alternately asserts, and …"

"Life Studies."
Critic: Michael Wood.
The New York Review of Books, Vol. XXXIX, No. 19, November 19, 1992, pp. 7-8, 10-11.

"The facts are simple and brutal, you can read them any day in the newspapers. If you read them and if you feel they are published for you. The suggestion that news in America is often just white news, or news for whites, occurs again and again in Toni Morrison's work, nowhere more strongly than in her novel…"

"Intense Behaviors: The Use of the Grotesque in The Bluest Eye and Eva's Man."
Critic: Keith E. Byerman.
CLA Journal 25, no. 4 (June 1982): 447-57.

"At the end of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, the little black girl Pecola, a victim of incest, is pictured talking to herself in a mirror about her imaginary blue eyes. At the end of Eva's Man, by Gayl Jones, Eva is describing, in increasing incomprehensible terms, her poisoning…"

"The Bluest Eye: The Need for Racial Approbation."
Critic: Doreatha Drummond Mbalia.
Toni Morrison's Developing Class Consciousness, pp. 28-38. Selinsgrove, Mass.: Susquehanna University Press, 1991.

"In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison's emphasis is on racism. Specifically, she investigates the effects of the beauty standards of the dominant culture on the self-image of the African female adolescent. The role of class, the primary form of exploitation experienced by African people…"

"Overview of Song of Solomon."
Critic: Jane Elizabeth Dougherty.
Novels for Students, Vol. 8, The Gale Group, 2000.

"In Toni Morrison, Cynthia A. Davis writes that the narrative trajectories of Toni Morrison's novels are driven by 'the Black characters' choices within the context of oppression.' In Song of Solomon, as Jill Matus notes in her Toni Morrison, Morrison investigates 'how Black men in America survive and how they position themselves in relation to dominant social and political structures' as well as to their own families and communities. Morrison presents the limited array…"

"Critical Essay on Sula."
Critic: Kelly Winters.
Novels for Students, Vol. 14, Gale, 2002.

"A prevalent theme in Sula is the influence of family and friends on the characters. The book focuses on two friends, Sula and Nel, but both have been shaped, and continue to be shaped, by…"

"Reconnecting Fragments: Afro-American Folk Tradition in The Bluest Eye."
Critic: Trudier Harris.
Critical Essays on Toni Morrison, edited by Nellie Y. McKay, pp. 68-76. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1988.

"The Bluest Eye is not only the story of the destructive effects of inter- and intraracial prejudice upon impressionable black girls in the midwest; it is also the story of Afro-American folk culture in process. Through subtle and not-so-subtle ways, Toni Morrison suggests that…"

"Morrison's The Bluest Eye."
Critic: John Bishop.
Explicator 51, no. 4 (summer 1993): 252-55.

"Many writers have noted the importance of names (and the act of naming) in Toni Morrison's novels but, surprisingly, no one in print has noted the ironies surrounding the name of Pecola Breedlove, the central character of The Bluest Eye…"

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