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The Fragmentation and Social Reconstruction of the Past in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

  • Michael Barber
Chapter
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 41)

Abstract

Families reunited around a holiday meal annually rediscover the fragmentation of the family history into diverse and at times conflicting memories, and they regularly set about socially reconstructing their common past, often without attending to the phenomenological underpinnings of such processes. In a similar fashion, the reader of Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved finds herself rushing forward toward the discovery of a hidden past remembered and interpreted through the diverse perspectives of its characters. With the help of phenomenological concepts, I intend to explore the factors involved in the fragmentation and social reconstruction of the past in Beloved. Finally, I will consider how fiction itself can entail a kind of social reconstruction of the past and thereby situate Beloved with reference to current discussions of allegory.

Keywords

Common Past Private Memory Social Reconstruction Full Past Slave Ship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Toni Morrison, Beloved (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987), p. 36.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Edward Casey, Remembering, A Phenomenological Study (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987), p. 268, p. 275.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Alfred Schutz, The Phenomenology of the Social World, trans. George Walsh and Frederick Lehnert (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1967), p. 207.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Edmund Husserl, Ideas, General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology, trans. W. R. Boyce Gibson (New York: Collier Books, 1962), p. 124Google Scholar
  5. Alfred Schutz, The Problem of Social Reality, Collected Papers. Vol. 1 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1962), p. 9.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 1, trans. Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1984), p. 31.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 2, trans. Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1985), pp. 88–89.Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    Max Scheler, The Nature of Sympathy, trans. Peter Heath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1954), p. 245.Google Scholar
  9. 24.
    Alfred Schutz, The Problem of Social Reality, pp. 18, 41, 317Google Scholar
  10. Alfred Schutz Studies in Social Theory, Collected Papers, Vol. 2 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1964), pp. 132, 253.Google Scholar
  11. 26.
    Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 3, trans. Kathleen Blarney and David Pellauer (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1988), p. 192.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Barber
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Louis UniversityUSA

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