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Thus isolated, it has gathered dust for five decades, while the future of the novel of which he wrote was acting itself out.The American novelist obviously had nothing to do with the strange position accorded his essay in this bulky set of volumes; but the choice of subject was probably his, or at least, if suggested to him, was one he found highly congenial.Perhaps this is because as a self-identifying literary critic there isn’t much else for people to ask me—this field doesn’t exactly make for the most riveting party talk.
He moves between a variety of topics, ranging from fresh genetic approaches to the work of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, to significant contributions to the theorisation of scholarly editing in the digital age.
This volume takes its title from a long-buried essay of Henry James's which appeared in 1900 and which is reprinted now for the first time.
The faces of those white women hovering behind that black girl at the Little Rock school in 1957 do not soon leave the retina of the mind.”◇ ◇ ◇In 1972, Morrison reviewed Albert Murray’s memoir of growing up in Alabama, “South to a Very Old Place,” writing:“Murray’s going home, like the return of any black born in the South, takes on a special dimension.
Along with an intimacy with its people and ties to its land, there is a separateness from both the people and the land — since some of the people are white and the land is not really his.
Toni Morrison, who died Monday at 88, is best known for her literary fiction, starting with her 1970 debut, “The Bluest Eye,” and continuing through her 2015 novel, “God Help the Child.” But she was an incisive cultural critic and essayist as well, putting her mind to everything from black feminism to Disneyland.
Below are some of her reviews and writing for The New York Times.◇ ◇ ◇In her 1971 review of “To Be a Black Woman: Portraits in Fact and Fiction,” edited by Mel Watkins and Jay David, Morrison wrote: “Somewhere there is, or will be, an in‐depth portrait of the black woman.At the moment, it resides outside the pages of this book.She is somewhere, though, some place, just as she always has been, up to her pelvis in myth, asking those sad, sad questions: When I was brave, was it only because I was masculine?Distinctive and ambitious, these essays move beyond the development of concerns voiced in the community of critics and scholars.Gabler responds innovatively to the issues involved and often endeavours to re-think their urgencies through allowing orthodox tenets of national schools of textual criticism to converge and merge.And so he wrote his measured and vigorous essay, with all the weight and authority of his thirty-five years of fiction- writing.Having recently moved into a new apartment, I have been presented with one of the great toils, but also great joys, of relocation: moving all my goddamn books. But even for those who loathe the process of moving a library, once the boxes are firmly stacked in the new digs, you get to create a whole new one, and this is the great joy I referred to.I pondered for a few seconds before immediately becoming overwhelmed.When I returned later and stared at the shelves, it occurred to me that I’ve been asked this question quite a few times.And when ship loads of slaves became a race of 30 million was that really only because I was fecund?”In her 1971 essay “What the Black Woman Thinks About Women’s Lib,” Morrison wrote:“They look at white women and see them as the enemy — for they know that racism is not confined to white men, and that there are more white women than men in this country, and that 53 percent of the population sustained an eloquent silence during times of greatest stress.