- Purchase/rental options available:
This article explores how aesthetic and rhetorical devices materialize race in the visual field. It focuses on portraits of Zamor, a young slave who grew up at the court of Louis XV, and on Mme de Duras’s novella Ourika. Examining the formal devices through which blackness was sutured onto both Ourika’s and Zamor’s bodies, this article challenges the notion that race is stable reality that preexists aesthetic depiction. Through the metaphor of the ghost, I suggest that Zamor’s and Ourika’s blackness works as a “visible invisibility,” emerging through the perception of the immaterial and the absent.