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Eating the Black Body

Miscegenation as Sexual Consumption in African American Literature and Culture

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Carlyle V. Thompson

In this provocative and original exploration of racial subjugation and its aftermath, Carlyle Van Thompson illumines the racialized sexual desire that reduces Black people to commodities for consumption. Eating the Black Body examines the often-sadistic forms of sexual violence during the period of slavery and its aftermath. By looking at one poem and three novels – Richard Wright’s Between the World and Me, John Oliver Killens’ Youngblood, Gayl Jones’ Corregidora, and Octavia Butler’s Kindred – that examine slavery and the Jim Crow period, Thompson investigates a wide variety of Black bodies as sites of miscegenation and sexual desire. Thompson also examines a horrific case of White male police brutality in New York City in which a Black man was sodomized. Bold and persuasively argued, Eating the Black Body will engage readers in a broad range of literary, historical, and cultural studies.