An Analysis of Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark : Whiteness and the Literary Imagination book cover
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An Analysis of Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark
Whiteness and the Literary Imagination





ISBN 9781912128914
Published July 19, 2017 by Macat Library
100 Pages

 
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Book Description

Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination is a seminal piece of literary criticism, and a masterclass in the critical thinking skill of interpretation.

Interpretation plays a vital role in critical thinking: it focuses on interrogating accepted meanings and laying down clear definitions on which a strong argument can be built. Both history and literary history in the US have frequently revolved around understanding how Americans define themselves and each other, and Morrison’s work seeks to investigate, question, and redefine one of the central concepts in American history and American literary history: color.. Morrison turned to the classics of American literature to ask how authors had chosen to define the terms ‘black’ and ‘white.’ Instead of accepting traditional interpretations of these works, Morrison examined the way in which ‘whiteness’ defines itself through ‘blackness,’ and vice versa. Black bondage and the myths of black inferiority and savagery, she showed, allowed white America to indulge its own defining myths – viewing itself as free, civilized, and innocent.

A classic of subtle and incisive interpretation, Playing in the Dark shows just how crucial and how complex simple-looking definitions can be.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the Text 

Who is Toni Morrison? 

What does Playing in the Dark Say? 

Why does Playing in the Dark Matter? 

Section 1: Influences 

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context 

Module 2: Academic Context 

Module 3: The Problem 

Module 4: The Author's Contribution 

Section 2: Ideas 

Module 5: Main Ideas 

Module 6: Secondary Ideas 

Module 7: Achievement 

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work 

Section 3: Impact 

Module 9: The First Responses 

Module 10: The Evolving Debate 

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today 

Module 12: Where Next? 

Glossary of Terms 

People Mentioned in the Text 

Works Cited

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Author(s)

Biography

Karina Jakubowicz is a doctoral student in English literature at University College, London.

Adam Perchard took his PhD in post-colonial literature at the University of York. He has been awarded research fellowships by Emory University, Atlanta, the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage, and the University of York, and currently teaches at Queen Mary, University of London. His current research focuses on disputing the discourses of cultural incommensurability emblematised and catalysed by the Rushdie Affair.