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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Slate Article: Why Is Beloved Beloved?

the dilettante
Why Is Beloved Beloved?
After all the plaudits, it's time to look at the novel's merits.
By Stephen Metcalf
Posted Thursday, May 18, 2006, at 2:42 PM ET

In 1987, Toni Morrison's Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize. In 1992, with Beloved still widely regarded as her masterpiece, Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Three legs make a stool: This past month, in a New York Times poll of 200 critics, writers, and editors, Beloved was named "the single best work of American fiction published in the last twenty-five years," beating out novels by such luminaries as Roth, DeLillo, and Updike. I participated in this survey and can attest that, from the moment the solicitously hand-typed letter from the Times Book Review arrived in the mail, Beloved was the presumptive winner........

Stephen Metcalf is Slate's critic at large. He is working on a book about the 1980s.


Copyright 2006 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC

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