The book reads the descriptions of the body in the Song of Songs as grotesque, as an alternative way of interpreting perplexing imagery and as a means to investigate the Song's politics of gender and love. The lovers' expressions of mutual affection and desire in the Song of Songs include intimate and detailed poetic descriptions of the body. These are challenging to interpret because the imagery used is cryptic, drawing on seemingly incongruous aspects of nature, architecture and war. Biblical scholarship frequently expresses some discomfort or embarrassment over this language, yet largely maintains the view that it should be interpreted positively as a complimentary and loving description of the body. If read without this hermeneutic, however, the imagery appears to construct nonsensical and ridiculous pictures of the human form, which raise interesting questions, and pose definite challenges, for the Song's readers. Fiona Black addresses the problematic nature of the Song's body imagery by using the artistic and literary construct of the grotesque body as a heuristic.;The resulting reading investigates some issues for the Song that are often left to the margins, namely, the Song's presentation of desire, its politics of gender, and the affect of the text. The book concludes with the identification of some implications of this reading, including the creation of a new framework in which to understand the relevance of the Song's imagery for its presentation of love.
The Artifice of Love by Fiona Black was published by Continuum in February 2009. The ISBN for The Artifice of Love is 9780826469854.