Toni Morrison Lecture 2007-08
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“Create Dangerously - The Immigrant Artist at Work”
By Edwidge Danticat
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
“In the new beginning was The Word.
And The Word was with Mother and Father.
And The Word was absence…”
Born in Haiti during the brutal Duvalier dictatorship, Edwidge Danticat - whose parents moved to the United States when she was a child, leaving her in the care of relatives - discovered The Word at the foot of family storytellers and in the books of French language writers. As a child, she watched that mixed literary heritage upset as well as comfort her neighbors and countrymen. The staging of an Albert Camus play following a political murder was one of its most striking examples.
Inspired by Camus’ landmark essay “Create Dangerously” and his definition of art as “a revolt against everything fleeting and unfinished in the world,” Danticat’s lecture will focus on her experiences, and the experiences of other immigrant artists, living and working - culturally, linguistically and politically - between several sometimes violent and unfriendly worlds.
Sponsored jointly by the Center for African American Studies and Princeton University Press, the Toni Morrison Lectures spotlight the new and exciting work of scholars and writers who have risen to positions of prominence both in academe and in the broader world of letters.
The lectures will be published in book form by Princeton University Press and celebrate the expansive literary imagination, intellectual adventurousness and political insightfulness that characterize the writing of Toni Morrison.