The Literary Genius of Toni Morrison

Bard College

Joseph Luzzi (PhD, Yale) is Professor of Comparative Literature and Faculty Member in Italian Studies at Bard College, and he taught previously at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in The New York Times, TLS, The London Times, the Guardian, Chronicle of Higher Education, and on National Public Radio. Dr. Luzzi’s awards include a Yale College Teaching Prize, Dante Society of America Essay Prize, and Wallace Fellowship at Villa I Tatti, Harvard’s Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. He is the author of five books and recently created The Virtual Book Club: an international community of readers dedicated to exploring major literary works past and present.



What makes Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison one of the most powerful voices in recent American literature? How does her work connect to earlier masterpieces of the great African American literary tradition of writers like James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Frederick Douglass, and many others? Professor Luzzi’s presentation will focus on Toni Morrison’s extraordinary novel Beloved, exploring its profound insights into the legacy of slavery and race relations as well as its incandescently beautiful prose. Overall, we will discover how Morrison asks—and answers—some of the most challenging questions regarding American identity in a work that remains vitally essential to our understanding of the world today.



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