RSN Fundraising Banner
Toni Morrison, Peerless American Novelist and Nobel Laureate, Has Died at 88
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=47026"><span class="small">Aja Romano, Vox</span></a>   
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 13:43

Romano writes: "Nobel laureate Toni Morrison died Monday night at the age of 88, her family and publisher Knopf has confirmed."

Novelist Toni Morrison discusses her venture into playwriting in Albany, New York, on December 23, 1985. (photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)
Novelist Toni Morrison discusses her venture into playwriting in Albany, New York, on December 23, 1985. (photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)


Toni Morrison, Peerless American Novelist and Nobel Laureate, Has Died at 88

By Aja Romano, Vox

06 August 19


Through masterworks like Beloved, Morrison explored America’s fractured identity.

obel laureate Toni Morrison died Monday night at the age of 88, her family and publisher Knopf has confirmed. Morrison, who was the first black woman in history to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was a legendary novelist and playwright whose work explored American identity, often through overlapping, fractured lenses of racial and gender identity.

“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends,” the Morrison family said in a statement. “She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends. The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students, or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing. Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life.”

Born in Ohio in 1931, Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford) grew up working-class, as the daughter of parents whose families had moved north fleeing Southern racism. She studied at Howard University and Cornell University and became a teacher and an editor for Random House after getting her master’s in English. As the publisher’s first black female senior editor, Morrison helped to publicize the works of important black writers like Chinua Achebe and Angela Davis.

Morrison didn’t publish her own novels until she was nearly 40, however. But her first novel, The Bluest Eye (1970), has come to be considered a classic; her second, Sula (1975), was nominated for the National Book Award and brought her critical and popular acclaim that never faded. Beloved, the 1988 novel that viscerally depicts the psychological impact of slavery through the story of a woman who kills her child rather than force her to endure a life of enslavement, was the rare national bestseller that was also hailed as a literary masterwork. When it failed to win the National Book Award, a litany of prestigious black writers, including Maya Angelou, Ernest J. Gaines, and Davis, protested the glaring oversight, calling Morrison a writer of “international stature.” Her failure to receive her just due in American literary awards highlighted “the legitimate need for our own critical voice in relation to our own literature.”

“Among the fecund intimacies of our hidden past, and among the coming days of dream or nightmares that will follow from the bidden knowledge of our conscious heart, we find your life work ever building to a monument of vision and discovery and trust,” they wrote. “You have never turned away the searching eye, the listening ear attuned to horror or to histories providing for our faith.”

Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize two months later, and Morrison was awarded the Nobel for her body of work in 1993. She also taught humanities at Princeton from 1989 to 2006. President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. Her eleventh and final book, God Help the Child, was published in 2015. It dealt with colorism and classism and showed Morrison’s commitment to exploring painful, uncomfortable truths.

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined,” she wrote in Beloved — but she came closer than anyone else has to reflecting humanity through the lives of the defined.

Email This Page

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-08-06 14:46
Sad news. She was one of the great ones. One thing for sure, she'll never be forgotten.
 
 
0 # EternalTruth 2019-08-07 00:19
Now both of my favorite authors are dead (Kurt Vonnegut was the other). I’m sad that I never got to meet either of them. My two favorites by Morrison are “Jazz”, and “A Mercy,” but everything she wrote is worth reading just for the intense beauty of her prose alone. The incredible emotional depth, and the appreciation of different perspectives that she saw and conveyed through her narrative give the world more soul, more love, more understanding than it had before. Toni Morrison: I thank you more than I could ever convey without you here to write for me. Rest In Peace.
 
 
0 # bardphile 2019-08-07 10:10
We've lost a great writier and a unique American voice. RIP.