Venus in Two Acts

  title={Venus in Two Acts},
  author={Saidiya Hartman},
  journal={Small Axe},
  pages={1 - 14}
This essay examines the ubiquitous presence of Venus in the archive of Atlantic slavery and wrestles with the impossibility of discovering anything about her that hasn’t already been stated. As an emblematic figure of the enslaved woman in the Atlantic world, Venus makes plain the convergence of terror and pleasure in the libidinal economy of slavery and, as well, the intimacy of history with the scandal and excess of literature. In writing at the limit of the unspeakable and the unknown, the… 
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