Contested Boundaries: New Critical Essays on the Fiction of Toni Morrison
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Contested Boundaries aims to map the space between A Mercy, Toni Morrison's ninth and arguably most enigmatic novel, and the fiction comprising the author's multiple-text canon. The volume accomplishes this through the inclusion of eight original essays representing a range of critical approaches that trouble narrative boundaries demarcating the novels included in Morrison's evolving opus, with A Mercy serving as a locus for discussion of her re-figuration of concerns central to her narrative project. Issues relevant to the conflicted mother-child relationship, the haunting legacy of slavery, the black female body as a site of trauma, the thorny quest for an idealized home, the perilous transatlantic journey, the demands associated with love, and, yes, the desire for mercy recur, but they do so with a difference, a "Morrisonian" twist that demands close intellectual scrutiny. Essays included in this volume are invested in a persistent scholarly investigation of this narrative and rhetorical play. The publication of A Mercy represents a climactic moment in Morrison's evolving political consciousness, her fictional geography, and, consequently, a shift in the margins marking her multiple-text universe. The complicated markers of difference figuring in "Recitatif" and continuing with Paradise and Love culminate in the author's ninth work of fiction. This volume ventures to chart that change, not for the sake of encoding it, but in an effort to open up new ways of interrogating her writing.