In Search of the Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece

Salamishah Tillet


Mixing cultural criticism, literary history, biography, and
memoir in an exploration of Alice Walker’s critically acclaimed and
controversial novel, The Color Purple

Alice Walker made history in 1982 when she became the first black woman
to win the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, both for The Color Purple.
Published in the Reagan Era amid a severe backlash to civil rights, the
jazz age novel tells the story of an African-American woman haunted by
domestic and sexual violence.

Prominent academic and activist Salamishah Tillet combines cultural
criticism, history, and memoir to explore Walker’s epistolary novel, and
shows how it has influenced and been informed by the zeitgeist of the
time. The Color Purple received both praise and criticism upon
publication, and the conversation it sparked around race and gender
still continues today. It has been adapted for an Oscar-nominated film
and a hit Broadway musical. Through interviews with Walker, Oprah
Winfrey, Quincy Jones, and others, as well as archival research, Tillet
studies Walker’s life and the origins of her subjects, including
violence, sexuality, gender, and politics. Reading The Color Purple
at age 15 was a groundbreaking experience for Tillet. It continues to
resonate with her—as a sexual violence survivor, as a teacher of the
novel, and as an accomplished academic. Provocative and personal, In Search of the Color Purple is a bold work from an important public intellectual.

Creator Bio

Salamishah Tillet is a scholar, cultural critic, and activist. A professor at Rutgers University-Newark, she is a regular contributor to the New York Times. She lives in New Jersey.

Price £19.99
Format Hardback
Publication Date 4 February 2021
Pages 224
Height 210mm
Width 140mm
Rights World
ISBN-13 9781419735301