By Cary Howie (auth.)
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Additional resources for Claustrophilia: The Erotics Of Enclosure In Medieval Literature
It recognises that materialism and spiritualism are false alternatives, since if there is only finite matter there is not even that, and that for phenomena really to be there they must be more than there. Hence, by appealing to an eternal source for bodies, their art, language, sexual and political union, one is not ethereally taking leave of their density. On the contrary, one is insisting that behind this density resides an even greater density—beyond all contrasts of density and lightness (as beyond all contrasts of definition and limitlessness).
67 THE EDGE OF ENCLOSURE 31 Iphigeneia’s strange visibility, her saturation of the sensible to the point of vanishing, merely intensifies the kind of vision that Silverman seeks to articulate. The messenger’s look is not necessarily the look of love, but it is affectively charged all the same; it is his pain that lets us know he has not merely given up, averted his gaze, but rather has allowed his look to open upon, and thus to receive as a sensible offering, the miracle of Iphigeneia’s vanishing salvation.
Is part of the “pain” with which Euripides’s messenger abandons (in both senses) his look precisely this refusal of fetishism in the advent of the miracle? Therefore, if the edge of closure names the threshold of the visible, the point at which the material both becomes sensible and settles back into its reinforced materiality, disclosed and enclosed, it might seem that the latter of these moments or gestures runs the greatest risk of fetishism. It is difficult to relinquish the saint’s relic once you hold it in your hand.
Claustrophilia: The Erotics Of Enclosure In Medieval Literature by Cary Howie (auth.)