How Three Black Women Writers Combined Spiritual and Sensual Love: Rhetorically Transcending the Boundaries of Language (Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Dionne Brand)

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This is a study of women writers of the African Diaspora and their articulation of the erotic as an important aspect of human experience beyond the limits and expectations of society. Within the imaginary scope of the works of Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Dionne Brand, the erotic is made manifest through rewriting narrative and poetic form.


“After reading this fine work by Cherie Ann Turpin, one sees these Africana women writers anew, as prophets, or prophetesses, of change, of disruption, even. The nature of the change is both internal and external. The nature of the disruption is the articulation of a break or fissure with regard to both traditional narrative form and content . Because the erotic represents a heightened sense of freedom and a way of knowing—a way of seeing and navigating or negotiating ones’ way in the world, these writers offer up a challenge to their readers. The nature of the challenge lies within their various texts, as readers attempt to understand and appreciate the multi-layered viewpoints of these Africana women writers. Indeed, we must thank Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin for helping us to see more clearly the womanist viewpoints of these important writers, through her fresh, new approach to literary and textual analysis.” – Dr. Frank E. Dobson, Jr., Vanderbilt University

“This book is a work of 'recovery' in the fullest sense, as it seeks to rescue, via the writing of erotic experience, Africana culture and humanity from the devastation of the slave trade and colonialism, as well as the more insidious silencing that is found in middle-class American experience for women of color.” –
Prof. Alexander N. Howe, University of the District of Columbia

“ . . . a compelling, original, and intelligent analysis . . .” – Prof. William Dalessio, University of Connecticut

Table of Contents

Foreword by Frank E. Dobson, Jr.
1. African Diaspora, Gender and the Erotic
Recovering the Erotic and Black Womanhood
From Black Arts to Black Feminist Criticism
The Erotic and Black Feminist Aesthetics
2. Lesbian Eros and Narrative in Audre Lorde’s Zami
Biomythography and the Language of Storytelling
Pleasure in Language
The Poetry of Lesbian Subjectivity
3. Sensual Narrative in Toni Morrison’s Jazz
“A Body Made of Language”
The City and the Language of Desire
The Sounds of Pleasure
Violence and Pleasure
4. Framing History in Dionne Brand’s At the Full and Change of the Moon Language as Resistance and Restoring the Self
Egun in the Machine: Marie Ursulie, “Queen of Ruin”
The Two Bolas
Priest/Adrian: Resurrecting or Doubling One Story Persistence of the Erotic: Cordelia, Maya, and Eulalie
5. Erotic Subjectivity and Africana Women Writers
Works Cited

Other African-American Studies Books