Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and a Biography

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Princeton University Press, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 232 pages

"Finally, an authoritative account of the mythologized life of Sara Baartman. The meticulously researched subject comes to life in the hands of historians Crais and Scully, who skillfully negotiate the pitfalls of writing historical biography. The authors make a delicate distinction between the woman, Sara Baartman, and the iconic Hottentot Venus, in this elegantly written, passionate, compassionate, and carefully contextualized study, in which their findings are nevertheless unflinchingly presented. Magnificent--an outstanding contribution to South African culture, past and present."--Zo Wicomb, author of You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town

"Crais and Scully have produced a definitive study of Sara Baartman and the many lives of the so-called Hottentot Venus. This is a wonderful book that has both intellectual interest and emotional power--I think it will be established as the authoritative account."--Elizabeth Elbourne, McGill University

"An eloquently written story demonstrating meticulous archival research, this book makes an important contribution to scholarly debates about biography. Using a range of previously unrecovered sources, Crais and Scully apply their theoretical insights about 'heterography' to the life of Sara Baartman, moving well beyond her role as the Hottentot Venus by reclaiming her life in the fullness of lived experience."--Kerry Ward, Rice University

"In the very act of demonstrating the impossibility of knowing Sarah Baartman, the authors of this remarkable book have restored her humanity. This is less a biography than an anti-biography, a searing work of social history that acknowledges the deep silence that surrounds so much of human history. A richly researched and deeply moving work."--Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, author of Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History

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Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: a ghost story and a biography

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Crais (history, Emory Univ.; The Politics of Evil) and Scully (women's studies & African studies, Emory Univ.; Liberating the Family) explore the personal life of Sara Baartman, a woman taken from ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

Clifton Crais is professor of history at Emory University. He is the author of The Politics of Evil. Pamela Scully is professor of women's studies and African studies at Emory University. She is the author of Liberating the Family?

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