These two articles from The New York Review of Books, separated by almost 40 years, seem to me to speak to each other. Diane Johnson’s article is a review of Song of Solomon. As a white woman, she has a very hard time with the bad behavior of the characters in Song of Solomon. They are not, she worries, exemplary, though putting it that way does not do complete justice to her take on Morrison. Zadie Smith’s article is a personal and fascinating discussion on the issues of appropriation. She explores what it means for both reader and writer to enter the imaginary world of people unlike themselves, an issue of heated debate these days. I think the Smith essay is brilliant.
MS Word files: