• Playing in the Dark

  • Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
  • By: Toni Morrison
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 3 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

An immensely persuasive work of literary criticism that opens a new chapter in the American dialogue on race - and promises to change the way we listen to American literature.

Morrison shows how much the themes of freedom and individualism, manhood and innocence, depended on the existence of a black population that was manifestly unfree - and that came to serve white authors as embodiments of their own fears and desires. 

According to The Chicago Tribune, Morrison "reimagines and remaps the possibility of America." Her brilliant discussions of the "Africanist" presence in the fiction of Poe, Melville, Cather, and Hemingway leads to a dramatic reappraisal of the essential characteristics of our literary tradition. Written with the artistic vision that has earned the Nobel Prize-winning author a pre-eminent place in modern letters, Playing in the Dark is an invaluable story for avid Morrison admirers as well as students, critics, and scholars of American literature.

©2007 Toni Morrison (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A profound redefinition of American cultural identity." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

What listeners say about Playing in the Dark

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My goodness..get ready to be challenged

I enjoyed this book very much, I must say it caught me off guard. It will definitely impact on how you interpret literature and it’s effects. Turpin’s narration is superb. ❤️

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Being able to see in the darkness

Toni Morrison’s discussion of the Africanist presence in American literature is particularly eye opening, providing fodder for meaningful conversations about the impact of the Africanist presence in all aspects of culture and politics.

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Good ideas, incomprehensible delivery

I respect her writing ability and her articulacy, but there comes a point when you have to keep the reader in mind. This is especially true when an author is trying to express to the reader a political viewpoint. Otherwise, no lasting effect is left on the reader. This book expresses something meaningful, and at many times agreeable. However, Morrison seems to prefer to use word salad and pompous, over-intellectualized, incomprehensible dribble. Most of the statements made in this 3 hour or so lecture are basically Chinese to a person who only knows English. If your up for re-reading every sentence 3 times over, pick this book up. You might like it. If you're White and fragile, you'll hate it.