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Contested Boundaries

New Critical Essays on the Fiction of Toni Morrison

Editor(s): Maxine L. Montgomery
Contributors: Shirley Stave, Charles Tedder, Maria Bellamy, Missy Kubtischeck, Charles Tedder, Terry Otten, Terry Otten,

Book Description

Contested Boundaries aims to map the space between A Mercy, Toni Morrison’s ninth and arguably most enigmatic novel, and the fiction comprising the author’s multiple-text canon. The volume accomplishes this through the inclusion of eight original essays representing a range of critical approaches that trouble narrative boundaries demarcating the novels included in Morrison’s evolving opus, with A Mercy serving as a locus for discussion of her re-figuration of concerns central to her narrative project. Issues relevant to the conflicted mother-child relationship, the haunting legacy of slavery, the black female body as a site of trauma, the thorny quest for an idealized home, the perilous transatlantic journey, the demands associated with love, and, yes, the desire for mercy recur, but they do so with a difference, a “Morrisonian” twist that demands close intellectual scrutiny. Essays included in this volume are invested in a persistent scholarly investigation of this narrative and rhetorical play.

The publication of A Mercy represents a climactic moment in Morrison’s evolving political consciousness, her fictional geography, and, consequently, a shift in the margins marking her multiple-text universe. The complicated markers of difference figuring in “Recitatif” and continuing with Paradise and Love culminate in the author’s ninth work of fiction. This volume ventures to chart that change, not for the sake of encoding it, but in an effort to open up new ways of interrogating her writing.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-5150-3
ISBN-10: 1-4438-5150-7
Date of Publication: 01/11/2013
Pages / Size: 170 / A5
Price: £39.99


Maxine Lavon Montgomery is a Professor of English at Florida State University where she teaches courses in African Diaspora, American Multi-Ethnic, and Women’s Literature. She is the author of The Apocalypse in African-American Fiction, Conversations with Gloria Naylor; and The Fiction of Gloria Naylor: Houses and Spaces of Resistance. Her articles and reviews have appeared in such journals as African-American Review, The South Carolina Review, The College Language Association Journal, Obsidian, II, The Literary Griot, The Mid-Atlantic Writers’ Association Journal, and The Journal of Black Masculinity. She is currently at work on a book-length monograph tentatively entitled Black Paris: From Hughes to Hip Hop, an interdisciplinary examination of Paris as a locus for black cultural production.