By Mereta Falck Borch, Eva Rask Knudsen, Martin Leer
A wide-ranging choice of essays focused on readings of the physique in modern literary and socio-anthropological discourse, from slavery and rape to woman genital mutilation, from garments, ocular pornography, voice, deformation and transmutation to the imprisoned, dismembered, remembered, kidnapped or ghostly physique, in Africa, Australasia and the Pacific, Canada, the Caribbean, nice Britain and ireland
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Additional resources for Bodies and Voices: The Force- Field of Representation and Discourse in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies (Cross Cultures)
Stories in The Sky People (1994) endorse marginal voices, by attributing supernatural powers to the outcast and disadvantaged. The deformed body becomes a source of spiritual strength in Potiki (1986), while Baby No-Eyes (1998) adjudicates over violence, pain and suffering, reinflecting them through a metaphysic of survival. Grace’s cognition of Maori marginality and spirituality, therefore, which embraces the centrifugal presence of the body – whole and fragmented, alive and dead – invokes textuality as a determining agent.
In this blunt case of a body’s disappearance, the narrative voice leaves no doubt about the callousness of the police and adopts a tone of subdued compassion towards the oppressed. Nevertheless, the story ends on a surprising note of appeasement, with the 1 Alan Paton, “Life for a Life” (1961), in South African Short Stories, ed. Denis Hirson (London: Heinemann, 1994): 224. Further page references are in the main text. ] softer and sweeter lives” (226). Thus the story is manifestly inscribed in the context of the South African liberal approach, according to which a better future could be envisaged in spite of the current madness reigning in the land.
His eyes are unblinking, fixed on the door through which he is going to leave the world. His mouth is dry but he is not afraid. His heart beats steadily like a fist in his chest clenching and unclenching. (159–60) The irrepressible surfacing of an obsessive body is also the main leitmotif in Nadine Gordimer’s The Conservationist. An unknown African, found on a white man’s land, has been hastily buried by the police. From then on, the owner of the land, Mehring, is repeatedly plagued by nightmarish visions of the decaying corpse, until it is unearthed by torrential rains, a symbolic sur- 15 At one moment when she phones Mr.