Charlotte van Oostrum | Listen to those Trains a-Hummin’: Beweging en improvisatie in ‘jazzy’ literatuur


According to the African- American writer Toni Morrison, her novel Jazz is based on the structure of jazz music. This article analyzes the way in which this “jazzy structure” functions within the novel. In order to do so, the bipartite chronotope of the ship (sound and movement) is used as a concept to engage in an analysis of Jazz. Emphasis is placed on the question whether Morrison’s novel creates a space for improvisation, an important element of jazz music. The analysis will show that the structure itself leaves little room for improvisation, but that this space is to be found on the level of language, sound and rhythm.

Full PDF