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Go FigureEnergies, Forms, and Institutions in the Early Modern World$
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Judith H. Anderson and Joan Pong Linton

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823233496

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823233496.001.0001

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

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

Chapter:
(p.38) The Sacramental Neuter and the Missing Body in Robert Southwell's Poetics
Source:
Go Figure
Author(s):

Judith H. Anderson

Joan Pong Linton

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823233496.003.0003

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

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