Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Sacraments of MemoryCatholicism and Slavery in Contemporary African American Literature$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Erin Michael Salius

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056890

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056890.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Toni Morrison’s Sacramental Rememory

Toni Morrison’s Sacramental Rememory

(p.13) 1 Toni Morrison’s Sacramental Rememory
Sacraments of Memory

Erin Michael Salius

University Press of Florida

Chapter 1 considers two novels by Toni Morrison which are widely celebrated for undermining Enlightenment rationalism: Beloved and A Mercy. As critics often note, Morrison’s concept of rememory—an antirealist trope, premised on the supernatural irruption of the past in the present—achieves this by imagining an alternative history of slavery. Yet a complete picture of these novels requires an account of the way that Morrison structures rememory—quite remarkably and with palpable historical reservations—as a Catholic sacrament. The chapter therefore addresses a significant gap in scholarship on Morrison (who identifies as Catholic), but never does it imply that her religious vision is uncritical or pure. Rather, it suggests that the sacramental aspects of rememory are in constant tension with the sharp critique of Catholicism evident in both novels. That critique builds upon the sociological study of slave religion that Orlando Patterson developed in Slavery and Social Death, particularly his pioneering claim that “the special version of Protestantism” which arose in the American South as slave religion was, in key respects, theologically “identical” to Catholicism.

Keywords:   Rememory, Toni Morrison, Beloved, A Mercy, Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death, Catholicism, Protestantism, Slave religion

Florida Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .