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Title page for ETD etd-06152014-193739

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Pipkin, Hashim Khalil
Author's Email Address hashim.k.pipkin@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-06152014-193739
Title To Tell the Impossible Story: Morrison, Patching History, and the Creative Demand of the Black Archive
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Teresa A. Goddu Committee Chair
Mark Wollaeger Committee Member
  • scrapbook
  • self-making
  • victimization
Date of Defense 2014-06-02
Availability unrestricted
This project traces the genealogy of two works by Toni Morrison, Beloved and The Black Book through their shared genesis at the site of the black archive and the dilemma it presents over black presence amidst sustained black historical absence. This project asserts that both texts intervene into that challenge through their practice of imaginative narrative configuration. This project argues that each text, through the scrapbook technique of juxtaposition, advances a reading of history as an imaginative emotional patchworking. Both The Black Book and Beloved are invested in ownership of the narrative fragments that plague the story of black striving in the black archive and the possibilities of meaning unlocked through these fragments’ creative collaboration -- scraps strengthening other scraps. The scrapbook’s dedication to content’s destabilization and mixture through the technique of juxtaposition provides the methodology necessary for The Black Book and Beloved to execute a response to the challenge of black history presented by the archive’s limit, a limit that might block access to moments of black presence, imagined or actual. From the textual vantage point of juxtaposition, Morrison makes the case through contact of narrative fragments in The Black Book and Beloved the necessary act of willed imagination to move past the archival limit and use, instead, what the archive makes available for black emotional self-fashioning.
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