Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992. Octavo, half black cloth lettered in silver, dark grey paper boards, black endpapers, original unclipped photographic dust jacket. Inscribed in ink on the title page: “For Stephen Garger / my compliments / Toni Morrison.”.
First edition of this extended critical essay by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, based on three lectures delivered at Harvard University in 1990. Morrison considers the way that “a carefully observed, and carefully invented, Africanist presence” has shaped canonical American literature, including the works of Poe, Twain, Hemingway, Cather, and others: “it may be possible to discover, through a close look at literary ‘blackness,’ the nature -- even the cause -- of literary ‘whiteness.’ What is it for? What parts do the invention and development of whiteness play in the construction of what is loosely described as ‘American?’” A fine inscribed copy.