Book Club: Toni Morrison's “Jazz”

Led by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Arleta Little, Executive Director for African American Literature
Oct 2010
About the Event

Like choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Toni Morrison, a premier contemporary American novelist, chronicles the African-American experience. Selected by Zollar as an influential book with deep, personal resonance to her, Jazz is a 1992 historical novel by Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning American author. Zollar and Arleta Little, Executive Director of the Givens Foundation, will explore the meanings and themes in this book, and relate them to their personal history and experiences. Within Jazz, a majority of the narrative takes place in Harlem during the 1920s, however, as the pasts of the various characters are explored, the narrative extends back to the mid-1800s American South. The novel forms the second part of Morrison's trilogy on African American history, beginning with Beloved and ending with Paradise. "Jazz is the story of a triangle of passion, jealousy, murder and redemption, of sex and spirituality, of slavery and liberation, of country and city, of being male and female, African American, and above all of being human. Like the music of its title, it is a dazzlingly lyric play on elemental themes, as soaring and daring as a Charlie Parker solo, as heartbreakingly powerful as the blues."

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In collaboration with UROC, the University of Minnesota Bookstore, and the Givens Foundation for African American Literature. 

Discounted editions of Toni Morrison's Jazz are available at University of Minnesota Bookstore.

Presented as part of the U of M Dance Program Symposium "Continuously Rich: Black Women and Cultural Production, Thu, Oct 21 - Sat, Octr 23 dance.umn.edu.

Northrop Concerts and Lectures is a fiscal year 2010 recipient of an Arts Access grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This performance is funded, in part, by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. Funding is provided in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders. Additional funding for the presentation of Urban Bush Women is provided in part by a grant from the Carolyn Foundation. This performance is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts' "American Masterpieces: Presenting" initiative.

Presented with support from the U of M Office for Equity and Diversity, the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, U of M Bookstore, KFAI Radio Without Boundaries|90.3 FM, U of M Institute for Advanced Study, U of M Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center (UROC), U of M Department of Dance and the U of M Women's Center.

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