Cover image for The world of Toni Morrison : a guide to characters and places in her novels
The world of Toni Morrison : a guide to characters and places in her novels
Roberson, Gloria G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiv, 262 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3563.O8749 Z844 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Toni Morrison is one of the most popular and talented African American writers in history. Her thoroughness and universality draws from a wide range of mythic, biblical, and historical lore, as well as her illumination of the similarities between apparently unrelated people and places. Though her novels are often challenging, they richly reward the reader who explores their depths. This reference maps the terrain of Morrison's complex imaginary world.

This convenient guide to her novels contains more than 800 brief entries, highlighting all of her characters and settings, both major and minor. The reference also provides information on her many allusions to figures such as Moses, Thoreau, and W.E.B. DuBois. For the novice, this volume fosters an understanding and appreciation of her works. For more experienced readers, it demonstrates how Morrison draws on a vast wealth of material and points to new directions for exploring her universe.

Author Notes

GLORIA GRANT ROBERSON is Associate Professor and Reference Librarian at Adelphia University and was the bibliographer for the Toni Morrison Society newsletter.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Morrison is universally recognized as an exceptional writer. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977, the Pulitzer Prize in 1988, and the Nobel Prize in 1994, she writes rich, complex novels replete with references to myth, history, culture, and religion. For many readers, the nuances and depth of these references are not fully realized because of a lack of familiarity. This book will remedy that lack. More than 800 entries, arranged alphabetically and ranging from six words (Windemere) to 53 lines (Dead, Macon III), identify the historical, cultural, biblical, and mythological framework of The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise. Although most of the entries are for fictional characters and places, approximately 10 percent describe actual persons, places, or events, such as Saint Augustine, Abraham Lincoln, Cincinnati (Ohio), Kentucky wonder beans, and Mary Jane candy. Each entry includes an abbreviation for the appropriate novel and page references that point the reader to the relevant pages in the novel. There is also an appendix that lists the entries alphabetically by book. This easy-to-use, clearly written reference resource will be valuable for public libraries that serve book discussion groups and provide homework help for book reports. Academic libraries will find it useful for assisting students and researchers who are interested in the works of Morrison. The Toni Morrison Encyclopedia RBB O 15 03 also has entries for fictional characters and locales but provides, in addition, synopses of Morrison's works as well as entries for her general themes and for various aspects of her career. The two titles are complementary. -- RBB Copyright 2003 Booklist

Table of Contents

Organization of Materials Novel
Abbreviation Codes
Listing of Entries
Appendix Alphabetical Listing of Entries by Book