The Sacramental Neuter and the Missing Body in Robert Southwell's Poetics

Judith H. Anderson and Joan Pong Linton

in Go Figure

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233496
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241224 | DOI:
The Sacramental Neuter and the Missing Body in Robert Southwell's Poetics

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The tool participates in the locality of the object without belonging to that locality in the organic or genetic sense of belonging. It produces an intimate relation with its object that arises both from the tool's figurative or prosthetic proximity to the object and its temporal and cultural distance from it. Intimacy of this kind is neither wholly proximate nor wholly distant, neither partisan nor impartial in an absolute sense. The intimacy born of the tool is, quite literally, neuter: ne-uter, neither this nor that. The encyclopedic instrumentality of the neuter is impressively conveyed in lectures given by Roland Barthes on the topic at the Collège de France in 1977–78, which were published in 2002, though it must be said that the lectures also constitute an embarrassment of riches — playful testimony, as it were, to the neuter's extravagant history.

Keywords: prosthetic; tool; locality; neuter; Roland Barthes; Robert Southwell

Chapter.  8361 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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