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Eroticism, Spirituality, and Resistance in Black Women’s
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Donna Aza Weir-Soley

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813033778

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813033778.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Contradictory Directives and the Erotics of Re-membering

Contradictory Directives and the Erotics of Re-membering

New World Spiritual Practices and Black Female Subjectivity in Beloved

Chapter:
(p.79) 3 Contradictory Directives and the Erotics of Re-membering
Source:
Eroticism, Spirituality, and Resistance in Black Women’s Writings
Author(s):

Donna Aza Weir-Soley

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813033778.003.0004

This chapter traces and substantiates Toni Morrison's use of African and African New World religions in Beloved through essays written by Morrison, an interview between Morrison scholars that demonstrates Morrison's research into the ethnographic studies of Robert Farris Thompson in preparation for writing Beloved, and through The Black Book, which was edited by Morrison long before Beloved was written. It then analyzes the sign systems of Haitian Voudoun in Morrison's text through a nexus of spiritual symbols and images that permeate the work. Morrison also consolidates several important features of West African belief systems from Yoruba cosmology in Beloved. The figure of Amy Denver, the working-class white woman in the novel, embodies characteristics of Yoruba goddesses Yemonja and Oshun. But perhaps no other passage in Beloved invokes New World religious signification more profoundly than the lovemaking scene between Beloved and Paul D.

Keywords:   Toni Morrison, Beloved, The Black Book, New World religions, spiritual symbols, Haitian Voudoun, Yoruba cosmology, Robert Farris Thompson

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