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Hottentot Venus: A Novel
Hottentot Venus: A Novel by Barbara Chase-Riboud 0385508565 9780385508568
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Hottentot Venus: A Novel by Barbara Chase-Riboud

From the bestselling author ofSally Hemingscomes an extraordinary new novel based on the true story of Sarah Baartman, a South African herdswoman exhibited as a scientific curiosity in the capitals of nineteenth-century Europe. Barbara Chase-Ribouds previous historical novels won her critical praise and established her as a writer who daringly transforms the hidden truths of the past into compelling fiction. InHottentot Venus, Chase-Riboud recounts the tragic life of Sarah Baartman, re-creating in vivid, shocking detail the racism and sexism at the heart of European imperialism. Born in the colony of Good Hope, South Africa, in 1789, Sarah Baartman was taken to London at the age of twenty by an English surgeon, who promised her fame and fortune. Dubbed the Hottentot Venus, she was paraded naked in Piccadilly in a freak-show exhibition and subjected to the unabashed stares and crude comments of the British public, which resulted in a sensational trial for her custody by British abolitionists. Soon afterward, however, Baartmans keeper who may have been her husband sold her to a French circus owner. In 1814, her new owner took her to Paris as part of an exotic animal circus to be displayed to French high society. Baartman endured unconscionable exploitation and cruelty as medical experts and leading scientists touted her as an example of primitive evolution because of her genital apron and her prominent buttocks. In an unforgettable saga that ranges from Capetown to St. Helena to London to Paris and back to Africa, Chase-Riboud has fashioned a Dickensian evocation of this icon of scientific racism, whose body, sex, and brain were exploited, examined, and dissected to become a synonym of ugliness and brutality the absolute negation of European beauty, which even today taints our Western concepts of humanity. Sarah, the tragic heroine, evokes nineteenth-century novels of the other such asFrankenstein,The Hunchback of Notre Dame, andThe Nigger of the Narcissus. InHottentot Venus, Barbara Chase-Riboud evokes this strange and moving story in the voices of Baartman and her contemporaries, combining years of research with the sensitivity and perceptions of a masterful storyteller to bring the story to life. LikeChang and Engand the authors ownSally HemingsandEcho of Lions, HOTTENTOT VENUS is a powerful, stark portrayal of the harsh realities of racea stunning look at the cruelty of curiosity, colonialism, and its twenty-first century consequences.

Author: Barbara Chase-Riboud

Language: English

Edition: 1

Binding: Hardcover

Pages: 336

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 2003-11-04

Our Price: $4.47

ISBN: 0385508565

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Barbara Chase-Riboud (Edition: 1) Hardcover

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