• View author and book videos on our YouTube channel.

  • Cloth: $89.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-4591-6
  • Paperback: $24.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-4609-8
  • Quantity
  • Add To Bag
  • Acknowledgments ix

    Introduction. Making Monstrous Intimacies: Surviving Slavery, Bearing Freedom 1

    1. Gayl Jones's Corregidora and Reading the "Days That Were Pages of Hysteria" 27

    2. Bessie Head, Saartje Baartman, and Maru Redemption, Subjectification, and the Problem of Liberation 67

    3. Isaac Julien's The Attendant and the Sadomasochism of Everyday Black Life 111

    4. Kara Walker's Monstrous Intimacies 153

    Notes 189

    Bibliography 223

    Index 243
  • “Sharpe’s Monstrous Intimacies succeeds in illuminating the complex entanglements of desire and horror at the heart of Black and White subjectification ‘after’ slavery. More profoundly, this text powerfully balances the fact of history’s monstrous persistence and the desire for what she identifies, after Dionne Brand, as a modality of Black life unhinged to historical narrative (129).”

    “The materials in Monstrous Intimacies register as being profoundly relevant not only for African American literature, but also for studies of the history of slavery in relation to the U.S. South. Moreover, her second chapter, focusing on the literature and culture of South Africa, addresses histories of racism, colonialism, and imperialism and speaks to discourses on the global South.”

    “This is a bold, challenging book which is unrelenting in its interpretation of slavery and the effects it has had on subsequent generations, black and white. In effect, the monstrous intimacies continue.”

    “Through compelling and intricate readings of visual and written texts, Sharpe is concerned with unpacking the intersection between violence, sex, and subjectivity in post-slavery subjects. Sharpe’s work is a poignant reflection on historical time and convincingly deals with the ways that the horrors of the past continue to structure the present. . . . Sharpe’s book is an eloquent and at times challenging analysis of the construction of post-slavery subjects as subjects who are by no means ‘post’ but continue to be structured by the past that is not quite past.”

    "Overall…Sharpe successfully demonstrates the presence of "monstrous intimacies" in each chapter. Most importantly, she creates a methodology for understanding the psychological development of the post-slavery subjects and the seductive story-telling that represents his or her experience."

    Reviews

  • “Sharpe’s Monstrous Intimacies succeeds in illuminating the complex entanglements of desire and horror at the heart of Black and White subjectification ‘after’ slavery. More profoundly, this text powerfully balances the fact of history’s monstrous persistence and the desire for what she identifies, after Dionne Brand, as a modality of Black life unhinged to historical narrative (129).”

    “The materials in Monstrous Intimacies register as being profoundly relevant not only for African American literature, but also for studies of the history of slavery in relation to the U.S. South. Moreover, her second chapter, focusing on the literature and culture of South Africa, addresses histories of racism, colonialism, and imperialism and speaks to discourses on the global South.”

    “This is a bold, challenging book which is unrelenting in its interpretation of slavery and the effects it has had on subsequent generations, black and white. In effect, the monstrous intimacies continue.”

    “Through compelling and intricate readings of visual and written texts, Sharpe is concerned with unpacking the intersection between violence, sex, and subjectivity in post-slavery subjects. Sharpe’s work is a poignant reflection on historical time and convincingly deals with the ways that the horrors of the past continue to structure the present. . . . Sharpe’s book is an eloquent and at times challenging analysis of the construction of post-slavery subjects as subjects who are by no means ‘post’ but continue to be structured by the past that is not quite past.”

    "Overall…Sharpe successfully demonstrates the presence of "monstrous intimacies" in each chapter. Most importantly, she creates a methodology for understanding the psychological development of the post-slavery subjects and the seductive story-telling that represents his or her experience."

  • Monstrous Intimacies is a remarkable study, lucid, engaging, and thoroughly engrossing.” — Sharon Patricia Holland, author of, Raising the Dead: Readings of Death and (Black) Subjectivity

    Monstrous Intimacies is an original, enriching look at the variety of artistic forms and practices that interrogate the illness of the post-slavery subject. It is international in its scope, interdisciplinary in its approach, and consistently intelligent in its execution.” — Ashraf Rushdy, author of, Remembering Generations: Race and Family in Contemporary African American Fiction

  • Permission to Photocopy (coursepacks)

    If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;

    If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Permission to Reprint

    If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Images/Art

    Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions@dukeupress.edu.
    For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department.

    Subsidiary Rights/Foreign Translations

    If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact permissions@dukeupress.edu. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.

    Disability Requests

    Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.

    Rights & Permissions Contact Information

    Email: permissions@dukeupress.edu
    Email contact for coursepacks: asstpermissions@dukeupress.edu
    Fax: 919-688-4574
    Mail:
    Duke University Press
    Rights and Permissions
    905 W. Main Street
    Suite 18B
    Durham, NC 27701

    For all requests please include:
    1. Author's name. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor's name also.
    2. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book
    3. Page numbers (if excerpting, provide specifics)
    For coursepacks, please also note: The number of copies requested, the school and professor requesting
    For reprints and subsidiary rights, please also note: Your volume title, publication date, publisher, print run, page count, rights sought
  • Description

    Arguing that the fundamental, familiar, sexual violence of slavery and racialized subjugation have continued to shape black and white subjectivities into the present, Christina Sharpe interprets African diasporic and Black Atlantic visual and literary texts that address those “monstrous intimacies” and their repetition as constitutive of post-slavery subjectivity. Her illuminating readings juxtapose Frederick Douglass’s narrative of witnessing the brutal beating of his Aunt Hester with Essie Mae Washington-Williams’s declaration of freedom in Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond, as well as the “generational genital fantasies” depicted in Gayl Jones’s novel Corregidora with a firsthand account of such “monstrous intimacies” in the journals of an antebellum South Carolina senator, slaveholder, and vocal critic of miscegenation. Sharpe explores the South African–born writer Bessie Head’s novel Maru—about race, power, and liberation in Botswana—in light of the history of the KhoiSan woman Saartje Baartman, who was displayed in Europe as the “Hottentot Venus” in the nineteenth century. Reading Isaac Julien’s film The Attendant, Sharpe takes up issues of representation, slavery, and the sadomasochism of everyday black life. Her powerful meditation on intimacy, subjection, and subjectivity culminates in an analysis of Kara Walker’s black silhouettes, and the critiques leveled against both the silhouettes and the artist.

    About The Author(s)

    Christina Sharpe is Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies at Tufts University.

Explore More
Share

Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Sign-in or register now to continue.


Contact Us

  • Duke University Press
  • 905 W. Main St. Ste 18-B
  • Durham, NC 27701
  • U.S. phone (toll-free): 888-651-0122
  • International: 1-919-688-5134
  • orders@dukeupress.edu