This essay uncovers the ties between Hortense Spillers's theory and criticism and Toni Morrison's literature. Crawford's analysis of representations of “flesh” in “Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe” (1987) and Beloved (1987) becomes a springboard for her analysis of other connections between Spillers and Morrison. This study of the conscious and unconscious dialogue between Spillers and Morrison pivots on Spillers's annotation of a draft of Morrison's play Dreaming Emmett (1985), Spillers's groundbreaking analysis of Morrison's Sula, Morrison's turn to theory in Paradise and Jazz, and Spillers's use of creative writing in her theory and criticism. Crawford reveals the direct and indirect conversations between Spillers and Morrison and their shared commitment to finding language that breaks the boundaries between analysis and experience.

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