The Folio Society’s first illustrated edition of Toni Morrison’s Beloved by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino
The Folio Society has just published the first illustrated edition of Nobel Laureate Dr. Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved. It is the incomparable classic that captivated readers worldwide since its original publication in 1987. Toni Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved. It was recognized as the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years. In 1993 she became the first and only African-American woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Folio Society’s first illustrated edition of Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
Introduced by Russell Banks― Illustrated by Joe Morse― Bound in cloth, blocked with a design by Joe Morse― Set in New Caledonia― 304 pages― Frontispiece and 8 color illustrations― 9″ × 6¼”― Published price: US $ 69.95
‘Something that is loved is never lost’
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 a 2006 New York Times survey was ranked the nation’s best work of fiction of the past 25 years. 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.
An extract from the introduction by Russell Banks
‘I wanted to translate the historical into the personal,’ Morrison has said. Her original source for the story is the historical account of a woman, Margaret Garner, who in January 1856 escaped with her baby daughter from the Kentucky plantation of Archibald Gaines, where she was a slave, into Ohio, a non-slave state. Thanks to the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, she was nonetheless still legally the property of Gaines, and when he and a posse appeared at the Cincinnati home where Garner, her husband and her three other children had found refuge, Garner, according to a contemporary account, ‘seized a butcher knife that lay on the table, and with one stroke cut the throat of her little daughter, whom she probably loved the best. She then attempted to take the life of the other children and to kill herself, but she was overpowered and hampered before she could complete her desperate work.’ The story of Margaret Garner was widely circulated afterwards in the pre-Civil War antislavery press as an example of the unnatural consequences of slavery, but eventually it was more or less lost to public memory. Morrison herself first came across the story in the early 1970s, when she was editing African-American documentary material for a groundbreaking anthology called The Black Book. But Beloved is not about the historical Margaret Garner. Morrison has insisted, ‘I didn’t do any more research at all about that story. I did a lot of research about everything else in the book – Cincinnati, and abolitionists, and the underground railroad – but I refused to find out anything else about Margaret Garner. I really wanted to invent her life.’
Toni Morrison is 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 honours, 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. Her most recent novel is Home (2012).
Please see our related articles: Nobel Laureate Dr. Toni Morrison is devoting this week to a three city tour reading from and discussing her new novel, God Help the Child, released April 21st. The three cities include New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino.