No Words Wasted Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    The Powell's Playlist | January 15, 2015

    Mary Helen Specht: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Mary Helen Specht

    Migratory Animals is mostly set in Texas during the first years of the most recent recession, when the cast of characters — an eclectic group... Continue »
    1. $10.49 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

      Migratory Animals (P.S.)

      Mary Helen Specht 9780062346032

Qualifying orders ship free.
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
5 Remote Warehouse Literary Criticism- General

Spectrality in the Novels of Toni Morrison


Spectrality in the Novels of Toni Morrison Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

     At first glance, Beloved would appear to be the only “ghost story” among Toni Morrison’s nine novels, but as this provocative new study shows, spectral presences and places abound in the celebrated author’s fiction. Melanie R. Anderson explores how Morrison uses specters to bring the traumas of African American life to the forefront, highlighting histories and experiences, both cultural and personal, that society at large too frequently ignores.

     Working against the background of magical realism, while simultaneously expanding notions of the supernatural within American and African American writing, Morrison peoples her novels with what Anderson identifies as two distinctive types of ghosts: spectral figures and social ghosts. Deconstructing Western binaries, Morrison uses the spectral to indicate power through its transcendence of corporality, temporality, and explication, and she employs the ghostly as a metaphor of erasure for living characters who are marginalized and haunt the edges of their communities. The interaction of these social ghosts with the spectral presences functions as a transformative healing process that draws the marginalized figure out of the shadows and creates links across ruptures between generations and between past and present, life and death. This book examines how these relationships become increasingly more prominent in the novelist’s canon—from their beginnings in The Bluest Eye and Sula, to their flowering in the trilogy that comprises Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise, and onward into A Mercy.

     An important contribution to the understanding of one of America’s premier fiction writers, Spectrality in the Novels of Toni Morrison demonstrates how the Nobel laureate’s powerful and challenging works give presence to the invisible, voice to the previously

silenced, and agency to the oppressed outsiders who are refused a space in which to narrate their stories.

Melanie R. Anderson is an Instructional Assistant Professor of American Literature at the University of Mississippi.

About the Author

Melanie R. Anderson is an instructional assistant professor of American literature at the University of Mississippi.

Product Details

Anderson, Melanie R.
University of Tennessee Press
Anderson, Melanie,
African-American & Black
Literary Criticism : General
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Spectrality in the Novels of Toni Morrison New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$46.75 In Stock
Product details 204 pages University of Tennessee Press - English 9781572338586 Reviews:
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at