In this Book

Eroticism, Spirituality, and Resistance in Black Women's Writings
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summary

Western European mythology and history tend to view spirituality and sexuality as opposite extremes. But sex can be more than a function of the body and religion more than a function of the mind, as exemplified in the works and characters of such writers as Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Opal Palmer Adisa, and Edwidge Danticat.

Donna Weir-Soley builds on the work of previous scholars who have identified the ways that black women's narratives often contain a form of spirituality rooted in African cosmology, which consistently grounds their characters' self-empowerment and quest for autonomy. What she adds to the discussion is an emphasis on the importance of sexuality in the development of black female subjectivity, beginning with Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and continuing into contemporary black women's writings.

Writing in a clear, lucid, and straightforward style, Weir-Soley supports her thesis with close readings of various texts, including Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and Morrison's Beloved. She reveals how these writers highlight the interplay between the spiritual and the sexual through religious symbols found in Voudoun, Santeria, Condomble, Kumina, and Hoodoo. Her arguments are particularly persuasive in proposing an alternative model for black female subjectivity.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xiii-xiv
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  1. Introduction: Spirit and Flesh: Black Female Aesthetics
  2. pp. 1-11
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  1. 1 The Cult of Nineteenth-Century Black Womanhood
  2. pp. 12-38
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  1. 2 Literary Interventions in Their Eyes Were Watching God
  2. pp. 39-78
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  1. 3 Contradictory Directives and the Erotics of Re-membering: New World Spiritual Practices and Black Female Subjectivity in Beloved
  2. pp. 79-140
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  1. 4 The Erotics of Change: Female Sexuality, Afro-Caribbean Spirituality, and a “Postmodern” Caribbean Identity in It Begins with Tears
  2. pp. 141-183
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  1. 5 Power, Eros, and Genocide: Capitalism and Black Female Subjectivity in The Farming of Bones
  2. pp. 184-222
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  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 223-226
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 227-248
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 249-259
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 261-274
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