Love and narrative form in Toni Morrison’s later novels

Jean Wyatt University of Georgia Press, 2017, pp. 299, $29.95 paper, ISBN: 0820350869
  • Marilyn CharlesEmail author
Book Review

In Love and Narrative Form in Toni Morrison’s Later Novels,Jean Wyatt offers a brilliant and accessible examination of how theme and form complement and augment one another in Morrison’s work. Carefully examining ways in which love is represented through both content and form, Wyatt highlights for the reader how form speaks increasingly directly in Morrison’s novels through the evocative nature of the very structure of the language itself. Undergirding Morrison’s efforts, suggests Wyatt, is an ethical imperative that drives a rendering of traumatic truths into language that in some cases brings visibility to those truths and, in others, eludes trauma’s telling. Through Wyatt’s careful analysis, we see how Morrison’s project evolves from an elaboration of traumatic truths towards the possibility of an adaptive and transformative working through. Informing Wyatt’s readings of these novels is a judicious use of psychoanalytic concepts and theory regarding the impact of trauma on human...


  1. Abraham, N. & Torok, M. (1994) The Shell and the Kernel. Edited by N. Rand. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Best, S. (2012) On failing to make the past present. Modern Language Quarterly 73(3): 453–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Charles, M. (2002) Patterns: Building Blocks of Experience. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Freud, S. (1917/1971) Mourning and Melancholia. Standard Edition 16. London: Hogarth Press, pp. 237–258.Google Scholar
  5. Lacan, J. (1977a) The function and field of speech and language in psychoanalysis. In: Écrits. Edited and translated by A. Sheridan. New York: W.W. Norton, pp. 30–113.Google Scholar
  6. Lacan, J. (1977b) The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience. In: Écrits. Edited and translated by A. Sheridan. New York: W.W. Norton, pp. 1–7.Google Scholar
  7. Levinas, E. (1998) Otherwise than Being: Or Beyond Essence. Edited and translated by A. Lingus. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Morrison, T. (1987) Beloved. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
  9. Morrison, T. (2015) God Help the Child. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
  10. Rubenstein, R. (1998) Singing the blues/Reclaiming jazz: Toni Morrison and cultural mourning. Mosaic: An Interdisciplinary Critical Journal 31(2): 147–163.Google Scholar
  11. Sikora, S., Kuiken, D., & Miall, D.S. (2011) Expressive reading: A phenomenological study of readers’ experience of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts 5(3): 258–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Volkan, V.D. (2001) Transgenerational transmissions and chosen trauma: An aspect of large-group identity. Group Analysis 34(1): 79–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Austen Riggs CenterStockbridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations