African Spiritual Traditions in the Novels of Toni
Morrison

African Spiritual Traditions in the Novels of Toni Morrison

K. Zauditu-Selassie

Print publication date: 2011

ISBN: 9780813033280

Publisher: University Press of Florida

Abstract

Toni Morrison herself has long urged for organic critical readings of her works. This book delves into African spiritual traditions, explaining the meanings of African cosmology and epistemology as manifest in Morrison's novels. The result is a critical investigation of such works as The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Paradise, Love, Beloved, and Jazz. While others have studied the African spiritual ideas and values encoded in Morrison's work, the author of this study explores a wide range of complex concepts, including African deities, ancestral ideas, spiritual archetypes, mythic trope, and lyrical prose representing African spiritual continuities. She writes this book, not only as a literary critic but also as a practicing Obatala priest in the Yoruba spiritual tradition and a Mama Nganga in the Kongo spiritual system. She analyzes tensions between communal and individual values and moral codes as represented in Morrison's novels. She also uses interviews with and non-fiction written by Morrison to further build her critical paradigm.