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Saline Intimacies

Saline Intimacies

(p.133) Chapter 7 Saline Intimacies
Phillip John Usher
Fordham University Press

This chapter studies another and wholly different exterranean matter, salt. The focus here is on how authors (both early modern and contemporary) attempt to describe salt by listing what it does, which ultimately points toward its chemical properties, as too does the doing of one particularly salty hero, Rabelais’s Pantagruel. Discussion follows of salt’s contested exterraneanity via Cellini’s saliera and a poem by André Mage de Fiefmelin. The chapter ends by discussion of a neo-Latin poem by Conrad Celtis that imagines salt extraction and human descent into the mines in strikingly similar terms. From these two chapters, it becomes clear that collective perception of the exterranean origins of extracted matter in an oscillation is more than a given, and that it does not determine in and of itself how humans live with bits-taken-from-the-Earth.

Keywords:   Celtis, Fiefmelin, Rabelais, salt, Wieliczka

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