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African Spiritual Traditions in the Novels of Toni Morrison
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Toni Morrison herself has long urged for organic critical readings of her works. K. Zauditu-Selassie delves deeply into African spiritual traditions, clearly explaining the meanings of African cosmology and epistemology as manifest in Morrison's novels. The result is a comprehensive, tour-de-force 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, African Spiritual Traditions in the Novels of Toni Morrison is the most comprehensive. Zauditu-Selassie explores a wide range of complex concepts, including African deities, ancestral ideas, spiritual archetypes, mythic trope, and lyrical prose representing African spiritual continuities.

Zauditu-Selassie is uniquely positioned to write this book, as she is not only a literary critic but also 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 nonfiction written by Morrison to further build her critical paradigm.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface: Dancing between Two Realms
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Introduction: There’s a Little Wheel a Turnin’ in My Heart: Cultural Concentricities and Enduring Identities
  2. pp. 1-24
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  1. I. Ancestral Echoes Positing a Spiritual Frame
  2. pp. 25-26
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  1. 1. I’s Got the Blues: Malochia, Magic, and the Descent into Madness in The Bluest Eye
  2. pp. 27-48
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  1. 2. Always: The Living Ancestor and the Testimony of Will in Sula
  2. pp. 49-66
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  1. II. Psychic Domains and Spiritual Locations
  2. pp. 67-68
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  1. 3. I’ve Got a Home in Dat Rock: Ritual and the Construction of Family History in Song of Solomon
  2. pp. 69-96
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  1. 4. Dancing with Trees and Dreaming of Yellow Dresses: The Dilemma of Jadine in Tar Baby
  2. pp. 97-118
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  1. 5. In(her)iting the Divine: (Consola)tions, Sacred (Convent)ions, and Mediations of the Spiritual In-between in Paradise
  2. pp. 119-142
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  1. III. Remembrance Has Not Left Us: What the Record Shows
  2. pp. 143-144
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  1. 6. Living with the Dead: Memory and Ancestral Presence in Beloved
  2. pp. 145-167
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  1. 7. Tracing Wild’s Child Joe and Tracking the Hunter: An Examination of the Òrìsà Ochossi in Jazz
  2. pp. 168-188
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  1. 8. If I’d a Knowed More, I Would a Loved More: Toni Morrison’s Love and Spiritual Authorship
  2. pp. 189-200
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  1. Glossary
  2. pp. 201-210
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 211-224
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 225-238
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 239-249
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  1. About the Author
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