Ideologies of Power, Gender, and the Erotics of Eating
This chapter examines the juxtaposition of cannibalism and sexual appetites in Maryse Condé's Histoire de la femme cannibale (hereinafter referred to as Story, reflecting the 2007 English translation) and Andrea Levy's Small Island (2004). It argues that while the ideologically fraught figure of the cannibal has long offered a fertile ground on which to construct a counter-hegemonic aesthetic of Caribbean discourses, few if any writers explore the equation between two major constructs—the sexual and alimentary transgressions—that define the cannibal. Story and Small Island evidence that (post)imperial panics have consistently framed a range of (post)colonial conflicts in the vocabulary of alimentary and sexual deviance as a ploy to mask these very same appetites in the (neo)imperial venture. In Small Island, cannibalism is a hidden theme that lurks beneath the surface of seemingly mundane and insignificant moments of encounter. In Story, Condé deconstructs the presumed benevolence of France toward Guadeloupe through an astute critique of the dominant imagery of France as mother who nurtures and sustains her children.
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