Amy Hungerford

Nov 9, 2022

On Toni Morrison's "Beloved"

A Discussion with Amy Hungerford

New Books Network 2022

In 1987, Toni Morrison published her fourth novel, Beloved, based on the story of Margaret Garner, a woman who escaped slavery with her child. Garner and her daughter were discovered by slave catchers. Rather than have her return to slavery, Garner killed her child. In Beloved, Morrison’s character Sethe has a similar story, but years later she meets a young girl who is the incarnation of the daughter she had killed. When Beloved came out, it immediately became Morrison’s most acclaimed work. It was nominated for the National Book Award and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Beloved examines community, motherhood, identity, slavery, freedom, and our relationship to the past. Amy Hungerford is the Vice President for Arts and Sciences as well as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. She is a professor of English and the author of Making Literature Now and The Holocaust of Texts: Genocide, Literature, and Personification. See more information on our website,

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