Critical Context (Masterplots II: African American Literature)
Jazz is Toni Morrison’s sixth novel. The Nation’s John Leonard has remarked, “Novel by novel, Toni Morrison reimagines the lost history of her people, their love and work and nightmare passage and redemptive music.” Having won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved, Morrison was not content to repeat a successful formula; rather, she continued to take stylistic risks. Although some critics complained that Morrison’s experimentation in Jazz had resulted in characters who are more distant and less empathetic than those in her previous works, the book’s reception was broadly favorable. Morrison’s receipt of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature provided dramatic proof that her evolving approach was continuing to touch readers worldwide.