Homage to Toni Morrison

 

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Toni Morrison is gone. Her work remains to provoke and inspire us. As part of my book on the metaphor of standing, one essay looks at the metaphor she contrasts with Faulkner’s. Here the abstract:

As I Stood Fighting

Toni Morrison’s Home as Response to William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying

The metaphor of standing permeates William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Toni Morrison’s Home. A series of parallels between the novels suggests that Morrison has created an antithesis to As I Lay Dying.

Faulkner’s novel is superb in its evocation of the static, stagnant, helplessly standing lives of poor white Mississippians. Morrison dreams a house of action for her African-American characters. Instead of a coffin, instead of a coffin-of-a-novel that depicts a nearly interminable attempt to get Addie Bundren to where she will be buried, instead of a novel in which standing is most often a gesture of stasis, Morrison writes a novel that features the standing metaphor in its active sense: anastasis—resurrection / standing up. Her novel might well bear the title “As I Stood Fighting.”

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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