Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark: Background information when reading How to Read Now

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How to Read Now

Essays

by Elaine Castillo

How to Read Now by Elaine Castillo X
How to Read Now by Elaine Castillo
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  • Published:
    Jul 2022, 352 pages

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Elisabeth Cook
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About this Book

Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark

This article relates to How to Read Now

Playing in the Dark book coverThe novelist Toni Morrison (1931-2019), author of The Bluest Eye, Beloved and many other famous works, is often considered one of the greatest and most influential American writers. However, as Elaine Castillo draws attention to in How to Read Now, Morrison is known mostly for her novels and less for what is arguably one of the most important texts ever written on American literature, a slim but significant 1992 volume of literary criticism titled Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. Castillo calls Playing in the Dark "the urtext on the insidious racial backbone of our reading culture," and recalls being alarmed when she mentioned it during events on a book tour only to "realize that many in the audience had not read it and, indeed, seemingly hadn't ever had a substantial reckoning with the politics, especially racial politics, of their reading practices."

Playing in the Dark, which is comprised of three essays adapted from a series of lectures given at ...

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