Toni Morrison on love, loss and modernity

From The Telegraph:

Toni-1-reuters_2272684bMorrison has written 10 novels and won a multitude of highly respected awards.Her best-seller Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize and was voted by The New York Times the best work of American fiction in the past 25 years. Her 1977 novel Song of Solomon won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970, when she was 39 years old and at the time, working at Random House as an editor. Because her literary success came later in life, when did she begin to trust her instincts – was it immediate? “Oh, I trust something else,” she says, thinking it through. “Which is the intelligence to examine my instincts.”

…Morrison has spoken in the past about her resistance to explaining black life to a white audience. What did she mean by that? “In American literature, African American male writers justifiably write books about their oppression,” she says. “Confronting the oppressor who is white male or white woman. It’s race. And the person who defines you under those circumstances is a white mind – tells you whether you’re worthy or what have you. And as long as that’s your preoccupation, you’re defending yourself against that. Reacting to it. Reacting to the definition – saying it’s not true. African American women never do that. They never write about white men. I couldn’t care less – I didn’t want to spend my energy refuting that gaze.”

More here.