Toni Morrison and the Classical Tradition: Transforming American Culture

Hardcover | November 3, 2013

byTessa Roynon

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In this volume, Roynon explores Toni Morrison's widespread engagement with ancient Greek and Roman tradition. Discussing all ten of her published novels to date, Roynon examines the ways in which classical myth, literature, history, social practice, and religious ritual make their presencefelt in Morrison's writing. Combining original and detailed close readings with broader theoretical discussion, she argues that Morrison's classical allusiveness is characterized by a strategic ambivalence. Adopting a thematic, rather than novel-by-novel approach, Roynon demonstrates that Morrison's classicism is fundamental to the transformative critique of American history and culture that her work effects. Building on recent developments in race theory, transnational studies, and Classical Receptionstudies, the volume positions Morrison within a genealogy of intellectuals who have challenged the purported conservative nature of Greek and Roman tradition, and who have revealed its construction as a "white" or pure and purifying force to be a fabrication of the Enlightenment. Exploring the waysin which Morrison's dialogue with Homer, Aeschylus, Euripides, Virgil, and Ovid relates to her simultaneous dialogue with many other American literary forebears - from Cotton Mather to Willa Cather, or from Pauline Hopkins to F.Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner - Roynon shows that Morrison'sclassicism enables her to fulfil her own imperative that "the past has to be revised".

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In this volume, Roynon explores Toni Morrison's widespread engagement with ancient Greek and Roman tradition. Discussing all ten of her published novels to date, Roynon examines the ways in which classical myth, literature, history, social practice, and religious ritual make their presencefelt in Morrison's writing. Combining original ...

Tessa Roynon is a Research Fellow at St Peter's College, Oxford. Her research and publications to date have centred on the reception of the classical tradition in American and black diasporic literature, and on Toni Morrison's engagement with early modern English culture. Her publications include African Athena: New Agendas (OUP, 2011...

other books by Tessa Roynon

The Cambridge Introduction to Toni Morrison
The Cambridge Introduction to Toni Morrison

Kobo ebook|Nov 26 2012

$18.19 online$23.62list price(save 22%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.1 inPublished:November 3, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199698686

ISBN - 13:9780199698684

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. Discovery, Conquest, and Settlement2. The New England Colonies and the Founding of the New Nation3. Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction4. In Search of Home: the 1920s -1950s5. Fighting for Rights: from Emmett Till's Murder to the Ronald Reagan Years6. America, Africa, and Classical TraditionsConclusion: Splitting Open the WorldBibliographyIndex