Championed for its radicalism and rejected for its conservatism, The Color Purple divided critics from the start. Early criticism opened up lines of enquiry into the novel’s generic identity, its formal and narrative strategies and its handling of race, gender and class. The late eighties and early nineties brought queer readings and psychoanalytical explorations of Celie’s development. Critics began to focus on issues pertaining to the reception of the novel, its canonization and its pedagogical potential.
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