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Black IntersectionalitiesA Critique for the 21st Century$
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Monica Michlin and Jean-Paul Rocchi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781846319389

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846319389.001.0001

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Cultures of Melancholia: Theorizing Desire and the Black Body

Cultures of Melancholia: Theorizing Desire and the Black Body

Chapter:
(p.145) 10 Cultures of Melancholia: Theorizing Desire and the Black Body
Source:
Black Intersectionalities
Author(s):

Laura Sarnelli

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846319389.003.0010

Drawing on critical theories of postcolonial melancholia (Gilroy, Cheng, Khanna), this chapter discusses the ‘re-memory’ of loss – both personal and cultural – as allowing the emergence of embodied black desire in Toni Morrison’s oeuvre. In particular, it rereads A Mercy as a representation of a “protoculture of melancholia,” in which all characters, across class, gender, and racial lines are haunted by memories not merely of loss but also of pleasure and eroticism. Melancholia as creative rather than as mourning without end becomes a healing process resulting in the assertion of the black body and of the black subject’s agency.

Keywords:   A Mercy, black body, black desire, black woman, Dionne Brand, eroticism, loss, melancholia, neo-slave narrative, Toni Morrison

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