James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and the Politics of Black Aesthetics by Lovalerie King and Lynn Orilla Scott (University of Massachusetts Press, 2014)
Published by University of Massachusetts Press
As noted above, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison have been the source of much discussion among African American literary scholars. As the editors of this collection demonstrate, these two writers have also been the source of much writing among African American artists and writers like Amiri Baraka and Nikki Giovanni. These authors often show a great deal of disdain for Morrison and Baldwin for their lack of authenticity and their whiteness.
The editors have taken these approaches and lines of inquiry and conducted a number of interesting analyses. For example, they have found that Morrison and Baldwin were often concerned with the same issues including that of the kinship among artists. They also found that Morrison and Baldwin were often concerned with the same issues including that of the lack of respect for black female artists. Finally, these scholars have found that Morrison and Baldwin were often concerned with the same issues, including that of the links between black and white artists.
The Morrison-Baldwin relationship has been the source of much discussion for African American literary scholars. Hence, scholars and students have often focused on comparing critical analyses of each work, typically written by King and Scott themselves. Yet, as the authors demonstrate, there is a plethora of analyses written by African American artists and writers like James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and more, who have commented on the works and characters of Morrison and Baldwin, often, as in the case of Baldwin, excoriating the women for their lack of authenticity and their whiteness. In the end, however, it is clear that King and Scott prefer to focus on the creative contributions of Morrison and Baldwin to their own work, even when they are addressing their own race. These essays, therefore, are not only interesting reads; they also provide a better picture of the creative process than most critics, especially those like King and Scott who are themselves African American.
Toni Morrison is an American author, educator, feminist, and activist. Her novel The Bluest Eye won the 1971 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and the National Book Award for fiction in 1972. Morrison is also a recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her other novels include Sula, Beloved, and Jazz. Her nonfiction includes Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1994) and the autobiographical novel Song of Solomon (1977).
More than ten years have passed, and Toni Morrison is at the height of her fame. The Black literary world is abuzz with her latest novel, The Bluest Eye. The novel is a powerful and provocative story of a young girl named Pecola Breedlove, who, like Twyla, is abandoned by her parents. Toni Morrison's love of the blues never wanes, and her novel is both a tribute to the music and a lament for the black poor. Set in the South, Pecola's story is told against the backdrop of a lynching in Mississippi, a murder trial in Georgia, a church burning in Alabama and a fire in a Harlem apartment building that leaves an African American baby dead. Written in poetic, timeless language, The Bluest Eye is a timeless tale of an American family and of how race shapes the lives of those who have no choice in the matter. 827ec27edc