This article examines the intertextual references between Paule Constant's White Spirit and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I argue that Constant's novel rewrites the European male colonialist's journey from a gendered perspective. The techniques used to achieve this include infusing Conrad's tale with heavily symbolic female characters, with male characters that belie the colonialists' sexual perversion, with animals that take on human characteristics, and with a colonial structure that emphasizes the sexually sordid aspect of empire. The article shows that Constant writes empire as an inherently sexual structure that impacts negatively upon all the characters' psyches, but most significantly upon women; while men suffer psychologically from the sexually perverse colonial society, the quest for whiteness to which the novel's title refers transforms, denigrates and denaturalizes both European and African women.


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pp. 73-84
Launched on MUSE
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