This subject provides a comprehensive and critical overview not only of the literary and scholarly work of the great American author  Toni Morrison, but also of her cultural impact.  Morrison’s novels are well known for being stylistically dense and sometimes emotionally difficult to read and understand. But to borrow Morrison’s own words—from her very first novel The Bluest Eye (1970)—the semester-long exercise of reading, thinking, and writing about her work promises to be “a productive and fructifying pain.” Indeed, our readings of Morrison’s fictional and nonfictional texts will help us understand what it means to write, release, and learn from various forms of pain—from historical pain to personal pain.  As we allow ourselves the opportunity to meditate on her writings, during the course of the semester, my ultimate hope is that we will open ourselves to the possibility of growing more intellectually astute as literary critics, readers, writers, and thinkers. We will read eight of her eleven novels, some of her essays, her short story “Recitatif,” and critical essays about her work.