Cover image for Alice Walker
Alice Walker
Lauret, Maria.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
x, 252 pages ; 23 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3573.A425 Z77 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Since the publication of The Color Purple in 1983, Alice Walker has gained a reputation as one of the most popular and most controversial writers in the African American literary tradition. This book explains Walker's project as a "womanist" writer and as a cultural and political activist who increasingly styles herself as a New Age visionary. The author traces Walker's distinctive themes of child abuse and women's sexuality and shows the development of Walker's theories of racial hybridity, spirituality and goddess worship as wellas her treatment of African American history. In an original reading of her oeuvre, Lauret shows convincingly that Walker continues to stretch her own, and her readers', imaginative visions.

Author Notes

Maria Lauret teaches American Studies at the University of Sussex.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Part of the "Modern Novelists" series, which treats only full-length fiction, this volume provides a detailed analysis of Walker's first five novels and a short postscript on her most recent (By the Light of My Father's Smile). The opening chapter offers an overview of Walker's life and work, particularly through an examination of her essays. Lauret (Univ. of Sussex, UK) contends that Walker's increasingly didactic and visionary novels are a natural progression from her long-standing interest in psychology (particularly Jung), spirituality, racial hybridity, ecology, and "womanist" issues. Lauret's most insightful comments are on the controversial post-Color Purple novels. Her analyses of The Temple of My Familiar as "an imaginative rewriting of history" and Possessing the Secret of Joy as ethnographic study are balanced, provocative, and illuminating. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above. L. J. Parascandola; Long Island University--Brooklyn Campus

Table of Contents

General Editor's Prefacep. viii
Acknowledgementsp. x
1 Alice Walker's Life and Work: The Essaysp. 1
2 The Third Life of Grange Copelandp. 30
3 Meridianp. 60
4 The Color Purplep. 90
5 The Temple of My Familiarp. 121
6 Possessing the Secret of Joyp. 159
7 A Writer's Activism: Alice Walker, Her Critics and 'the' Traditionp. 193
Postscript: By the Light of My Father's Smilep. 206
Notesp. 213
Select Bibliographyp. 234
Indexp. 242