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The Dilemma of "Double-Consciousness": Toni Morrison's Novels

Denise Heinze

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ISBN 10: 0820315230 / ISBN 13: 9780820315232
Published by Univ of Georgia Pr, 1993
Used Condition: Used: Good Hardcover
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1993 hardcover with mylar dj, ex library, small amount of underlining in text, black mark bottom and top edge,AND AS ALWAYS SHIPPED IN 24 HOURS; and emailed to you a USPS tracking number on all orders; all books are sanitized and cleaned for your protection before mailing. PLEASE NOTE OVER SEAS BUYERS if the book extra large or heavy there will be additional postage due to the new US Postage rates. Bookseller Inventory # 120727017

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Dilemma of "Double-Consciousness": Toni ...

Publisher: Univ of Georgia Pr

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Used: Good

About this title


The critical reception that greeted Toni Morrison's two most recent novels, Beloved and Jazz, was so enthusiastic that it became a hallmark not only in Morrison's own career but quite possibly in the history of African-American literature as well. American readers and critics have strongly embraced Morrison in spite of the fact that her writings pose a stern challenge to an America suffering from moral and intellectual lethargy.
In The Dilemma of "Double-Consciousness" Denise Heinze makes a major contribution to the current dialogue on Morrison by analyzing the extent to which her novels have been influenced by history and the interactions of race, class, and gender. Although Morrison's career represents an American success story, her writings attack values long revered in American society: the cult of domesticity and true womanhood, romantic love and ideal standards of beauty, capitalism and the Protestant work ethic, the primacy of Western culture and modern technology. Morrison is a mythbasher, says Meinze, but she is also a mythmaker whose ontology finds its meaning in nature, primitivism, the past, and the supernatural.
Central to understanding Morrison's challenge to traditional values, Heinze argues, is W. E. B. Du Bois's notion of "double-consciousness" - the condition in which a person is representative of and immersed in two distinct ways of life. Heinze also draws on Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s notion of the symbiotic relationship that Morrison, as an African-American writer, shares with white writers. Morrison's position as part of the literary establishment and as part of minority culture in America grants her two perspectives, both of which inform her work. She successfully incorporates these perspectives, Heinze contends, by appropriating conventional literary forms to render artistically the story of black experience inside white culture. Morrison employs rational and controlled methods to naturalize seemingly irrational responses to life, and her "outsider within" status lends her a credibility that crosses racial, cultural, and class lines.
In chapters that address Morrison's aesthetic, her treatment of families, her social dialectic, and her use of supernatural elements, Heinze provides incisive readings of all six novels. Morrison's stories of black families and black culture, Heinze says, appeal to a wide and growing audience by inviting her readers to share in her double-consciousness, to join her in a symbolic journey whose final destination is truth and understanding.

About the Author:

Denise Heinze is an assistant professor of English at Western Carolina University.

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