The new edition of an American masterpiece, this is the harrowing story of Ursa Corregidora, a blues singer in the early 20th century forced to confront the inherited trauma of slavery.
A literary classic that remains vital to our understanding of the past, Corregidora is Gayl Jones’s powerful debut novel, examining womanhood, sexuality, and the psychological residue of slavery. Jones masterfully tells the story of Ursa, a Kentucky blues singer, who, in the wake of a tragic loss, confronts her maternal history and the legacy of Corregidora, the Portuguese slave master who fathered both her mother and grandmother. Consumed and haunted by her hatred of the man who irrevocably shaped her life and the lives of her family, Ursa Corregidora must come to terms with a past that is never too distant from the present.
Selected and first edited by Toni Morrison, it is “the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women,” (James Baldwin) and “a tale as American as Mount Rushmore and as murky as the Florida swamps.” (Maya Angelou).
Here is Gayl Jones’s classic novel, the tale of blues singer Ursa, consumed by her hatred of the nineteenth-century slave master who fathered both her grandmother and mother.
“Corregidora’s survey of trauma and overcoming has become even better and more relevant with the passage of time. It remains an indispensable point of entry into the tradition of African American writing that Gayl Jones reshaped and enriched.” —Paul Gilroy, author of The Black Atlantic
“Corregidora is a breathtaking novel that stands as one of the most important twentieth-century works of African American literature. Jones captures the web of inheritances that shaped the lives of Black women in slavery and freedom, from trauma to resilience, and from flesh to spirit. Corregidora is deeply affecting and endures in the heart and mind of readers.” —Imani Perry, author of Looking for Lorraine
Praise for the first edition
“Corregidora is the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women.” —James Baldwin
“Gayl Jones has concocted a tale as American as Mount Rushmore and as murky as the Florida swamps.” —Maya Angelou
“Gayl Jones is an American writer with a powerful sense of vital inheritance, of history in the blood.” —John Updike
“A first novel of great power, so emotionally raw that some readers may find it embarrassing. Corregidora has a sense of life not filtered through art . . . . Gayl Jones’s special gift is to shape experience and make it seem unshaped.” —John Alfred Avant, The New Republic
“A fiercely concentrated story, harsh and perfectly told . . . . Original, superbly imagined, nothing about the book is simple or easily digested . . . . Gayl Jones has presented problems that are living, historical and important additions to the current American—not just black—scene. Her novels are genuinely imaginative creations.” —Darryl Pinkney, The New Republic