Through readings of texts spanning four centuries, and bridging the Atlantic - from genres as diverse as English Renaissance drama, abolitionist literature, gothic horror and contemporary romance - Daileader questions why Anglo-American culture's most widely-read and canonical narratives of inter-racial sex feature a black male and a white female and not a black female and a white male. This study considers the cultural obsession with stories patterned on Shakespeare's Othello alongside the more historically pertinent, if troubling, question of white male sexual predation upon black females. Daileader terms this phenomenon 'Othellophilia' - the fixation on Shakespeare's tragedy of inter-racial marriage to the exclusion of other definitions and more optimistic visions of inter-racial tension. This original study argues that masculinist racist hegemony used myths about black male sexual rapacity and the danger of racial 'pollution' in order to police white female sexuality and exorcise collective guilt over the sexual slavery of women of color.Read more
- Written in an accessible and lively prose-style
- Puts forth an original and compelling argument about literary history
- Will appeal to students, scholars, and enthusiasts of Shakespeare as well as to feminists and cultural critics
Reviews & endorsements
'This exploration by Celia R. Daileader of the interrelatedness of racism and sexism is insightful, relevant and clearly written.' New Theatre Quarterly
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- Date Published: August 2005
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521613149
- length: 266 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 153 x 23 mm
- weight: 0.44kg
- contains: 5 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. White devils, black lust: inter-racialism in early modern drama
2. The heathen with the heart of gold: Othellophilia comes to America
3. Holes at the poles: gothic horror and the racial abject
4. Sisters in bondage: abolition, amalgamation, and the crisis of female authorship
5. Handsome devils: romance, rape, racism, and the rhet(t)oric of darkness
6. Invisible men, unspeakable acts: the spectacle of black male violence in modern American fiction
Conclusion: 'White women are snaky': jungle fever and its discontents.
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