Toni Morrison

Illustrated by Joe Morse

Introduced by Russell Banks

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988, Toni Morrison’s seminal novel Beloved remains an enduring masterpiece. The Folio edition is introduced by Russell Banks and features illustrations by Joe Morse.

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Beloved is one of those rare novels I'd describe as necessary.’
  1. Irish Times

As extraordinary as the character who inspires its title, Beloved is seminal both in its stylistic achievements and its searing depiction of the lives of African Americans under slavery. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988, and in 2006 was ranked the nation’s best work of fiction of the past 25 years by the New York Times. At its daring, startling heart lies the image of infanticide; an act of paradoxical violence by which an escaped slave, Sethe, saves her child from a life like her own. Unnamed, the baby is buried in a grave marked ‘Beloved’, but her time among the living has not drawn to an end. With an introduction by award-winning writer Russell Banks, and featuring Joe Morse’s striking illustrations, this is a beautiful collector’s edition of an essential novel.

Quarterbound in blocked cloth with metallic paper sides

Set in New Caledonia with Priori Serif display

304 pages

Frontispiece and 8 colour illustrations

Blocked slipcase

9˝ x 6¼˝

Underlying Beloved’s many hauntings – literal and metaphorical – are the stark realities of slavery, every bit as brutal as the experience of stoical Sethe and her kin. Morrison’s many-layered narrative gradually tells their stories, revealing the bonds that tie them to each other, in life and in death, and how they strive to cope with memories of appalling abuse, loss and indignity. She evokes beautifully the complex interplay between past and present – the power of the former to govern the latter – and the profound, particular difficulties of navigating the world as a former slave, of developing a sense of identity: ‘Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.’ The novel’s magical and mythical elements, which the characters largely perceive without surprise, serve to heighten its realism.

About Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison was an American author, editor and professor. She was born in Ohio in 1931. She received a BA in English from Howard University in Washington, DC, in 1953, and an MA from Cornell University in New York in 1955. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. Her second book, Sula (1973) was nominated for the National Book Award, and her third, Song of Solomon (1977) won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Beloved (1987) won various honors, including both the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States, in 2012. Her writing, known for its examination of the black experience in America, is characterised by her distinct style and unique narrative technique.

About Russell Banks

Russell Banks was an American author of 18 works of fiction, including the novels Continental Drift (1985), Cloudsplitter (1998) and Lost Memory of Skin (2011), as well as 6 short story collections, including A Permanent Member of the Family (2013). Two of his novels, Affliction (1989) and The Sweet Hereafter (1991), have been adapted into award-winning films. Banks has been a PEN/Faulkner Finalist (for Affliction, Cloudsplitter and Lost Memory of Skin) and a Pulitzer Prize Finalist (for Continental Drift and Cloudsplitter). He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.

About Joe Morse

Joe Morse is an American illustrator. He studied Fine Arts at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, where he won grants to study in Italy, Mexico and Japan. His illustrations have been recognised with over 200 international awards, and he was included in Taschen’s compendium of today’s most important illustrators worldwide, 100 Illustrators (2013). His clients include the New York Times and Rolling Stone, and his work has been exhibited in the United States, Italy, the Netherlands and Canada. His illustrations for Folio's edition of Beloved are watercolor on paper, finished using digital techniques.


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