Abstract

Abstract:

This essay considers the idea of freedom through the prism of Toni Morrison's twinned aspirations to remake American English and to "transfigure the complexity and wealth of Afro-American culture into a language worthy of the culture." Although she is celebrated as a novelist and literary critic, Morrison's political thought has yet to receive its due. Focusing on her nonfiction writing from 1971 to 2019, I investigate how Morrison interprets the conjunction of freedom, colonization, and slavery in the language through which she writes. And I highlight her innovative uses of two of the most contested terms of political thought—sovereignty and territory—to conceive practices of freedom that do not rely on the conquest or subjugation of others.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 671-691
Launched on MUSE
2021-09-24
Open Access
No
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