Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility

By Ashon T. Crawley | Go to book overview

1
BREATH

Stories of escape and flight from circum-Atlantic enslavement are numerous. Too numerous, in fact, to recount here. Yet in each instance, in each retelling, is movement emerging from plurality, from the irreducibility of otherwise possibilities. One such movement is the excitement, frustration, exacerbation internal to the narrative that the actor recounts for readers. How one felt. What one thought on the varied routes to flight, the many highways and byways, the hidings and showing forths. The final arrival, relief. All this in these narratives, fugitive stories, about the capacity for producing justice and liberation by stealing oneself away. But there is otherwise movement irreducibly in such narratives, movement of—for example—the incitement to excitement, frustration, exacerbation the narrator wants to produce for readers. Does the reader hear the rustling of grass underfoot, the sounds of ship whistles, of whipped flesh? Does the reader see the muddy passageways, the swamps? Does the reader smell the sweaty flesh absconding? All this as an excess of the writing, an excess written into the writing, an excess about desiring for the reader to understand something about the peculiar—the peculiarly violent—institution. Such doubled movement written into and as the text announces the excessive possibility of otherwise, that such otherwise possibility is marked by its plurality. This writing is an exercise in theorizing otherwise possibilities by elaborating upon the various remains, the various excesses yet to be elaborated.

Breathing. There is something that occurs in these texts that typically goes unremarked, or if remarked, is only done insofar as there is a spectacular instance of such. What goes unremarked, though certainly produced

-32-

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Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Breath 32
  • 2 - Shouting 86
  • 3 - Noise 139
  • 4 - Tongues 197
  • Coda - Otherwise, Nothing 251
  • Acknowledgments 271
  • Notes 275
  • Index 305
  • Commonalities 312
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