Racism, Misogyny, and the Othello Myth: Inter-Racial Couples from Shakespeare to Spike Lee

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Oktober 2005



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.


Introduction: Othellophilia; 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.


Celia R. Daileader is Associate Professor of English in the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama. She is the author of Eroticism on the Renaissance Stage: Transcendence, Desire, and the Limits of the Visible (Cambridge, 1998), and has published numerous articles on feminist theory and criticism, critical race studies, and Renaissance literature. She is co-editor with Gary Taylor of John Fletcher's The Tamer Tamed, and co-editor with Rhoda Johnson and Amilcar Shabazz of Women and Others: Racial and Gender Difference in Anglo-American Literature and Culture.


'This exploration by Celia R. Daileader of the interrelatedness of racism and sexism is insightful, relevant and clearly written.' New Theatre Quarterly
EAN: 9780521613149
ISBN: 0521613140
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Oktober 2005
Seitenanzahl: 256 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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