Toward an Affective Problematics: A Deleuze-Guattarian Reading of Morality and Friendship in Toni Morrison’s Sula

  • Naeem Nedaee Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures. University of Tehran
  • Ali Salami Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures. University of Tehran

Abstract

It might sound rather convincing to assume that we owe the pleasure of reading the novel form to our elemental repository of physical perception, to our feelings. This would be true only if mere feelings could add up to something more than just emotions, to some deep understanding of the human. After all, a moment of epiphany, where we begin to realize things that dramatically disturb our normal state of mind, is not just emotional, nor indeed a simple moment. Despite its root in the corporeal, a mo(ve)ment of affective realization reaches beyond the realm of the human and opens up the plane of virtual potentials. In this work, we intend to map out the points and relations of affective singularity that pervade the narrative of Toni Morrison’s Sula (1973). Also, we will discuss how these mo(ve)ments of sensation give form to Sula’s and Nel’s experiences and contribute to an affective transformation in morality and friendship.Keywords: Gilles Deleuze; Felix Guattari; Toni Morrison; Sula; affect; emotion

Author Biographies

Naeem Nedaee, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures. University of Tehran
Naeem Nedaee is a literary scholar with a Master of Arts focused in English literature from the University of Tehran. Nedaee is interested in poststructuralist theories and cultural studies across a variety of western literatures and cinemas.
Ali Salami, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures. University of Tehran
Ali Salami is a literary scholar and professor of English literature at the University of Tehran. An internationally published author, Salami has written extensively on gender and discourse, Shakespeare and postcolonial literature.

References

Beaulieu, Elizabeth Ann, ed. 2003. The Toni Morrison Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Bourassa, Alan. 2009. Deleuze and American Literature: Affect and Virtuality in Faulkner, Wharton, Ellison, and McCarthy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Colebrook, Claire. 2002. Gilles Deleuze. London: Routledge.

Collins, Patricia Hill. 2000. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge.

Deleuze, Gilles. (1964) 2000. Proust and Signs: The Complete Text. Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota P.

—. (1969) 2002. The Logic of Sense. London: Athlone Press.

Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. (1980) 1987. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translation and Foreword by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P.

—. (1991) 1994. What Is Philosophy? New York: Columbia UP.

Demetrakopoulos, Stephanie A. (1987) 1999. “Sula and the Primacy of Woman to-Woman Bonds.” In Toni Morrison’s Sula, edited by Harold Bloom, 77-92. Philadelphia: Chelsea House.

Fulton, Lorie Watkins. 2006. “‘A Direction of One’s Own’: Alienation in Mrs. Dalloway and Sula.” African American Review 40 (1): 67-77.

hooks, bell. 1982. Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. Boston, MA: South End.

Hughes, John. 1997. Lines of Flight: Reading Deleuze with Hardy, Gissing, Conrad, Woolf. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.

Johnson, Barbara. (1993) 2008. “‘Aesthetic’ and ‘Rapport’ in Toni Morrison’s Sula.” Textual Practice 7 (2): 165-172.

Lawrence-Webb, Claudia, Melissa Littlefield and Joshua N. Okundaye. 2004. “African American Intergender Relationships: A Theoretical Exploration of Roles, Patriarchy, and Love.” Journal of Black Studies 34 (5): 623-639.

Lee, Rachel. 1994. “Missing Peace in Toni Morrison’s Sula and Beloved.” African American Review 28 (4): 571-583.

Massumi, Brian. (1980) 1987. “Notes on the Translation and Acknowledgments.” In Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (1980) 1987, xvii-xx.

McLaren, Joseph. 2010. “Sula.” In Masterplots. Fourth Edition, edited by Laurence W. Mazzeno, 5567. Amenia, NY: Salem Press. [Accessed online on July 1, 2016].

Morrison, Toni. (1973) 2004. Sula. New York: Vintage International.

Naylor, Gloria. (1985) 1994. “A Conversation: Gloria Naylor and Toni Morrison.” In Conversations with Toni Morrison, edited by Danille Taylor-Guthrie, 188-217. Jackson: U P of Mississippi.

Spillers, Hortense J. 1999. “A Hateful Passion, a Lost Love.” In Toni Morrison’s Sula, edited by Harold Bloom, 51-76. Philadelphia: Chelsea House.

Stepto, Robert B. 1979. “‘Intimate Things in Place’: A Conversation with Toni Morrison.” In Chant of Saints: A Gathering of Afro-American Literature, Art and Scholarship, edited by Michael S. Harper and Robert B. Stepto, 213-229. Urbana: U of Illinois P.

Zournazi, Mary. 2002. Hope: New Philosophies for Change. Annandale, NSW: Pluto.

Published
2017-06-23
Section
Articles