By Robert F. Reid-Pharr
In Conjugal Union, Robert F. Reid-Pharr argues that in the antebellum interval a group of loose black northeastern intellectuals sought to set up the soundness of a Black American subjectivity through figuring the black physique because the useful antecedent to any intelligible Black American public presence. Reid-Pharr is going directly to argue that the actual fact of the black body's consistent and sometimes surprising demonstrate demonstrates a tremendous uncertainty as to that body's prestige. hence antebellum black intellectuals have been regularly apprehensive approximately how a good dating among the black neighborhood will be maintained. Paying specific consciousness to Black American novels written earlier than the Civil conflict, the writer exhibits how the loved ones was once used by those writers to normalize this courting of physique to neighborhood such individual may input a loved ones as a white and depart it as a black.
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Extra info for Conjugal Union: The Body, the House, and the Black American (Race and American Culture)
Very conscious of his own charms and manliness. A looking glass indispensable in his room, to admire himself. Insufferable puppyism. Thinks no woman good enough for him. Caught unawares by the snares of Cupid. The connexion broken off, from self-conceit on his part. ] towards her. Pays his addresses to another lady, not without hope of mortifying the ﬁrst. Mortiﬁed and frantic at being refused. Rails against the fair sex in general. Morose and out of humour in all conversations on matrimony. Contemplates martimony more under the inﬂuence of interest than formerly.
10 The obvious claim that one can make about this passage is that it represents the tension inherent in the production of (bourgeois) individuals from the elemental desires encompassed by the body. The bad habits that he favored come to us from out of the protagonist’s youth, suggesting their basic and unrestrained nature. His drinking, reveling, and sexual practice all stand in contradistinction to the virtuous marriage and academic studies that would have suited him as a subject and citizen of modern (Black) America.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the name ‘‘David Walker’’ becomes itself a marker of a transparent black corporeality in which racial difference is constant, immutable and rigidly bifurcated. This effect is largely established through Walker’s unrelenting willingness to represent himself as a martyr, a subject whose death seals the specter of a once vibrant and now indelible black body within the text through which it is represented. More important, Walker refuses altogether the assumption that the ‘‘fact of blackness’’ is a matter that ultimately can be resolved textually.