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Chapter 4, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Mad Black Woman,” reads Ntozake Shange’s 1994 experimental novel, Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter, as a collection of meditations on black sublimation. Indeed, the novel exquisitely, extensively traces transformations of black madness into black art. Born to “respectable” black elites in suburban New Jersey circa World War II, Liliane Lincoln grows to become an avant-garde performance artist, portraitist, sculptor, feminist, sexual adventurer, cosmopolitan world wanderer, and faithful psychoanalysand. Her peculiar madness—the product of black bourgeois repressions as well as antiblack and misogynist traumas, all revealed in stylized scenes of psychoanalysis—achieves release through “metaphor” and art. Liliane frequently spins neurosis into artful language and constantly sublimates fury, angst, and self-avowed “crazy” into painting and performance. Alongside Eva’s Man, Liliane prompts a meditation on the artistic and violent vicissitudes of madness.

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