Toni Morrison quotes

Toni Morrison photo
182   8

Toni Morrison

Birthdate: 18. February 1931
Date of death: 5. August 2019

Toni Morrison is an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emerita at Princeton University.

Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved. The novel was adapted into a film of the same name in 1998. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. She was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Morrison wrote the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005. On May 29, 2012, President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2016 she received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.

Works

Beloved
Beloved
Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye
Toni Morrison
Sula
Sula
Toni Morrison
Paradise
Paradise
Toni Morrison
Jazz
Jazz
Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison
God Help the Child
God Help the Child
Toni Morrison
A Mercy
A Mercy
Toni Morrison
Tar Baby
Tar Baby
Toni Morrison
Love
Love
Toni Morrison
Home
Home
Toni Morrison

„Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.“

—  Toni Morrison, book Beloved

Source: Beloved (1987)
Context: Bit by bit, at 124 and in the Clearing, along with others, she had claimed herself. Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another. <!-- ~ Ch. 9

Help us translate English quotes

Discover interesting quotes and translate them.

Start translating

„The vitality of language lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers.“

—  Toni Morrison

Nobel Prize Lecture (1993)
Context: The vitality of language lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers. Although its poise is sometimes in displacing experience it is not a substitute for it. It arcs toward the place where meaning may lie. When a President of the United States thought about the graveyard his country had become, and said, "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here. But it will never forget what they did here," his simple words are exhilarating in their life-sustaining properties because they refused to encapsulate the reality of 600, 000 dead men in a cataclysmic race war. Refusing to monumentalize, disdaining the "final word", the precise "summing up", acknowledging their "poor power to add or detract", his words signal deference to the uncapturability of the life it mourns.

„A few words have to be read before it is clear that 124 refers to a house … and a few more have to be read to discover why it is spiteful, or rather the source of the spite. By then it is clear, if not at once, that something is beyond control, but is not beyond understanding since it is not beyond accommodation by both the "women" and the "children."“

—  Toni Morrison

"Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature" in Michigan Quarterly Review 28, no. 1 (Winter 1989)
Context: Beginning Beloved with numerals rather than spelled out numbers, it was my intention to give the house an identity separate from the street or even the city... Numbers here constitute an address, a thrilling enough prospect for slaves who had owned nothing, least of all an address. And although the numbers, unlike words, can have no modifiers, I give these an adjective — spiteful… A few words have to be read before it is clear that 124 refers to a house … and a few more have to be read to discover why it is spiteful, or rather the source of the spite. By then it is clear, if not at once, that something is beyond control, but is not beyond understanding since it is not beyond accommodation by both the "women" and the "children." The fully realized presence of the haunting is both a major incumbent of the narrative and sleight of hand. One of its purposes is to keep the reader preoccupied with the nature of the incredible spirit world while being supplied a controlled diet of the incredible political world. … Here I wanted the compelling confusion of being there as they (the characters) are; suddenly, without comfort or succor from the "author," with only imagination, intelligence, and necessity available for the journey. …. No compound of houses, no neighborhood, no sculpture, no paint, no time, especially no time because memory, pre-historic memory, has no time. There is just a little music, each other and the urgency of what is at stake. Which is all they had. For that work, the work of language is to get out of the way.

„However moribund, it is not without effect for it actively thwarts the intellect, stalls conscience, suppresses human potential. Unreceptive to interrogation, it cannot form or tolerate new ideas, shape other thoughts, tell another story, fill baffling silences.“

—  Toni Morrison

Nobel Prize Lecture (1993)
Context: A dead language is not only one no longer spoken or written, it is unyielding language content to admire its own paralysis. Like statist language, censored and censoring. Ruthless in its policing duties, it has no desire or purpose other than maintaining the free range of its own narcotic narcissism, its own exclusivity and dominance. However moribund, it is not without effect for it actively thwarts the intellect, stalls conscience, suppresses human potential. Unreceptive to interrogation, it cannot form or tolerate new ideas, shape other thoughts, tell another story, fill baffling silences.

„We all know nations that can be identified by the flight of writers from their shores. These are regimes whose fear of unmonitored writing is justified because truth is trouble. It is trouble for the warmonger, the torturer, the corporate thief, the political hack, the corrupt justice system, and for a comatose public.“

—  Toni Morrison

Burn This Book, p. 2 (2009)
Context: We all know nations that can be identified by the flight of writers from their shores. These are regimes whose fear of unmonitored writing is justified because truth is trouble. It is trouble for the warmonger, the torturer, the corporate thief, the political hack, the corrupt justice system, and for a comatose public. Unpersecuted, unjailed, unharrassed writers are trouble for the ignorant bully, the sly racist, and the predators feeding off the world’s resources. The alarm, the disquiet, writers raise is instructive because it is open and vulnerable, because if unpoliced it is threatening. Therefore the historical suppression of writers is the earliest harbinger of the steady peeling away of additional rights and liberties that will follow.

„A dead language is not only one no longer spoken or written, it is unyielding language content to admire its own paralysis. Like statist language, censored and censoring.“

—  Toni Morrison

Nobel Prize Lecture (1993)
Context: A dead language is not only one no longer spoken or written, it is unyielding language content to admire its own paralysis. Like statist language, censored and censoring. Ruthless in its policing duties, it has no desire or purpose other than maintaining the free range of its own narcotic narcissism, its own exclusivity and dominance. However moribund, it is not without effect for it actively thwarts the intellect, stalls conscience, suppresses human potential. Unreceptive to interrogation, it cannot form or tolerate new ideas, shape other thoughts, tell another story, fill baffling silences.

„There is just a little music, each other and the urgency of what is at stake. Which is all they had. For that work, the work of language is to get out of the way.“

—  Toni Morrison

"Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature" in Michigan Quarterly Review 28, no. 1 (Winter 1989)
Context: Beginning Beloved with numerals rather than spelled out numbers, it was my intention to give the house an identity separate from the street or even the city... Numbers here constitute an address, a thrilling enough prospect for slaves who had owned nothing, least of all an address. And although the numbers, unlike words, can have no modifiers, I give these an adjective — spiteful… A few words have to be read before it is clear that 124 refers to a house … and a few more have to be read to discover why it is spiteful, or rather the source of the spite. By then it is clear, if not at once, that something is beyond control, but is not beyond understanding since it is not beyond accommodation by both the "women" and the "children." The fully realized presence of the haunting is both a major incumbent of the narrative and sleight of hand. One of its purposes is to keep the reader preoccupied with the nature of the incredible spirit world while being supplied a controlled diet of the incredible political world. … Here I wanted the compelling confusion of being there as they (the characters) are; suddenly, without comfort or succor from the "author," with only imagination, intelligence, and necessity available for the journey. …. No compound of houses, no neighborhood, no sculpture, no paint, no time, especially no time because memory, pre-historic memory, has no time. There is just a little music, each other and the urgency of what is at stake. Which is all they had. For that work, the work of language is to get out of the way.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

Similar authors

William Faulkner photo
William Faulkner212
American writer
Pearl S.  Buck photo
Pearl S. Buck94
American writer
Selma Lagerlöf photo
Selma Lagerlöf3
Swedish female writer
John Steinbeck photo
John Steinbeck352
American writer
Isaac Bashevis Singer photo
Isaac Bashevis Singer39
Polish-born Jewish-American author
Ivo Andrič photo
Ivo Andrič16
novelist, short story writer
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn photo
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn119
Russian writer
Hermann Hesse photo
Hermann Hesse163
German writer
José Saramago photo
José Saramago136
Portuguese writer and recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in …
Alice Munro photo
Alice Munro38
Canadian novelist
Today anniversaries
Paul Robeson photo
Paul Robeson22
American singer and actor 1898 - 1976
David Hilbert photo
David Hilbert29
German prominent mathematician 1862 - 1943
Edvard Munch photo
Edvard Munch29
Norwegian painter and printmaker 1863 - 1944
Pierre Bonnard photo
Pierre Bonnard24
French painter and printmaker 1867 - 1947
Another 66 today anniversaries
Similar authors
William Faulkner photo
William Faulkner212
American writer
Pearl S.  Buck photo
Pearl S. Buck94
American writer
Selma Lagerlöf photo
Selma Lagerlöf3
Swedish female writer
John Steinbeck photo
John Steinbeck352
American writer
Isaac Bashevis Singer photo
Isaac Bashevis Singer39
Polish-born Jewish-American author