Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, who died Monday at 88, left behind an indelible literary heritage.
And it was Morrison’s words, both written and spoken during interviews and public addresses, that myriad writers and others turned to in an effort to eulogize her.
In announcing Morrison’s passing on Tuesday, publishing company Alfred A. Knopf quoted from her 1993 Nobel lecture: “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”
Others quickly pored over her works, excerpting several of her novels, such as “Beloved":
And “Song of Solomon”:
From “God Help the Child”:
And “Tar Baby”:
Through the years, Morrison also sat for many interviews and shared her reflections through essays and other published works.
“In this country American means white,” she told the Guardian in 1992. “Everybody else has to hyphenate.”
In “Conversations With Toni Morrison,” first published in 1994, she addressed assumptions that “to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing.”
In a 2015 essay published in the Nation, the author wrote about the duty of artists.
Morrison visited Portland State University in 1975 and delivered remarks that director Ava DuVernay later transcribed. “We are the moral inhabitants of the globe. And to deny it is to lie in prison,” Morrison said. “Oh yes, there’s cruelty, and cruelty, because it destroys the perpetuator as well as the victim, is a very mysterious thing.
“But,” she continued:
Writers can “turn sorrow into meaning,” Morrison wrote in “The Source of Self-Regard,” published earlier this year.
“If you have some power,” Morrison told O, the Oprah Magazine, in 2003, “then your job is to empower somebody else.”
Morrison, both as a writer and a public intellectual, had a profound impact on generations of writers and thinkers who came after her.
Elliot Smilowitz contributed to this article.