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Abstract

Željka Švrljuga’s reading of Beryl Gilroy’s Inkle and Yarico explores how the novel’s intersectionality of race, gender and class, and the grammar of desire are deployed in the rewriting of the semantics of the Venus figure. With a starting point in a seventeenth-century footnote in Caribbean history, the novel uses the travel motif as its thematic impulse: from the “discovery” of the New World to its colonization. This, the chapter argues, is reflected on many levels – geographic, historical, narrative – and in the re-figuring of the Venus figure through metonymic displacements, metaphoric replacements, and supplementation. Also, by drawing on the Venus and Adonis myth and William Blake’s engraving Europe Supported by Africa and America, Švrljuga’s analysis opens for a thorough exploration of the relationships between critique, narration, aesthetics, and genre.…

In: Exploring the Black Venus Figure in Aesthetic Practices
In: Transculturation and Aesthetics
In: Exploring the Black Venus Figure in Aesthetic Practices
Exploring the Black Venus Figure in Aesthetic Practices critically examines a longstanding colonial fascination with the black female body as an object of sexual desire, envy, and anxiety. Since the 2002 repatriation of the remains of Sara Baartman to post-apartheid South Africa, the interest in the figure of Black Venus has skyrocketed, making her a key symbol for the restoration of the racialized female body in feminist, anti-racist and postcolonial terms.

Edited by Jorunn Gjerden, Kari Jegerstedt, and Željka Švrljuga, this volume considers Black Venus as a product of art established and potentially refigured through aesthetic practices, following her travels through different periods, geographies and art forms from Baudelaire to Kara Walker, and from the Caribbean to Scandinavia.

Contributors: Kjersti Aarstein, Carmen Birkle, Jorunn Svensen Gjerden, Kari Jegerstedt, Ulla Angkjær Jørgensen, Ljubica Matek, Margery Vibe Skagen, Camilla Erichsen Skalle, Željka Švrljuga.