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Hetærography or inventions of radical alterity : subtitle reading two Latin American women’s poetry Chatzivasileiou, Evangelia 2001

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Hetaerography or Inventions of Radical Alterity: Reading Two Latin American Women's Poetry by E V A N G E L I A C H A T Z I V A S I L E I O U B . A . , York University, 1994 B . A , Aristotelio University of Thessaloniki, 1989 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F D O C T O R O F P H I L O S O P H Y in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S (Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A July 2001 © Evangelia Chatzivasileiou, 2001 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of FZf.NCH H\SPANIC huh nfiimN STUDIO The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date Qg-JQ- Ol DE-6 (2/88) Abstract This primarily theoretical study is situated within the field of Lat in American Studies, since it examines poetry written in Spanish by two contemporary Lat in American women. The approach develops concepts introduced by Derrida and Levinas to discuss their poems in relation to feminist debates about identity and difference/alterity. Many feminists believe that the struggle for the emancipation of women must orient itself toward a politics that affirms their sexual identity as women or as lesbians. Others argue that such affirmations are problematic, because they are posited within a masculinist, heteronormative context and necessarily adopt the stereotypes and biases implici t in such a frame. This dissertation supports the point of view of radical feminists, for whom maintaining a radical heterogeneity and difference in relation to this normative binary framework is the only way to avoid (re-) assimilation into phallocratic structures. The first chapter provides a theoretical framework based on Derridean deconstruction and notions of alterity and difference that enable the philosophical construction of a radical het-erogeneity called here hetdsrography. This invented concept gives rise to other inventions of difference and multiple alterities, creating an alternative to essentialist concepts of identity and otherness. The second chapter examines the Argentinian poet Diana Bellessi's Eroica and proposes a reading based on the radical heterogeneity of "woman." Drawing on the poli t ical reality of los desaparecidos in Argentina, the unidentified woman is construed as "disappearance." The third chapter applies a similar approach to a reading of the Chilean poet Soledad Farina's Albricia, developing the concept of impasse. The discussion focuses on the deconstruction of Farina's homogeneous or essentialist category of lesbianism and proposes a,n-other, more radical hyperlesbianism that is indeterminate and exceeds essen-tialist definitions. Hyperfeminism/lesbianism link women's and lesbians' emancipation to wider issues of democracy, justice and ethics, as discussed in the fourth and final chapter. 11 Table Of Contents Abstract ii Preface vii Acknowledgments xiv Chapter I Introduction 1 Hetaerography, an Invention of a Radical Al ter i ty 1 Overview 1 Hetceroglossary: The Knot of In-Betweenness or Hetasrography's Diphthong <£ . 4 To Invent the Ghcest 20 The Diphthong Spooks 24 The "Ethics" and "Politics" of Heteerography and the Ghasst 25 Writ ing With-out Other(s) 31 Overview 31 The New Woi^ld Other or Otherness Wanted 32 To Promise: Language as Bread Given to the Gh&st 39 Itineraries 42 "Methodology" 43 Notes 47 Chapter II The Disappeared (Other): Reading Poems From Diana Bel-lessi's Eroica 50 i i i Overview 50 Footnotes of Dance: "Methodological" Notes 55 Footnotes of Dance: To Begin the Dance of Puppets and Strings 62 The "Context" of Diana Bellessi's Eroica 63 The Hyperfeminist Dance of the Puppet as Indeterminacy or as the Im-possible Woman 66 Dcedalus 73 Of Feminine Writing and Other Ruins 79 Hy(i)lography as Trauma 81 Beyond Feminine Writing as Weaving 85 Woman's Unique Face Effaced: An Excessive Ethics and a Hyperfeminism of the Figure-less 99 Footnotes of Dance: The Dance of the Disappeared 104 An Altar to the Ghaest: E l desaparecido and el trasladado 108 I Ghaest or I am the Other's Mouth: Ventriloquism 122 To Receive the Figureless Ghaest or To Commune the G-host 126 Capucha 128 Notes 131 Chapter III The Dead 3 8 n d or the Im-passable (Other) : Reading Poems F rom Soledad Farina's Albricia 134 Overview 134 "Methodological" Notes and Strategic Inventions of Impasse 140 iv The "Context" of Soledad Farina's Albricia 150 The Lesbian Literary "Context" of Albr ic ia 159 Albricia or the Gift of Justice: Faith in the Coming of the Other 169 Albr i c i a is a Gift of Justice 169 Faithfully Waiting Till Dawn 177 Loving the (Hyperlesbian) Other Passionately 191 Lengua as Valve or Death 191 Absolute Corn-Passion or the "Ethics" of Hyperlesbianism 203 Suspected to Be 218 Maran tha or To Pray 231 Notes 233 Chapter I V Conclus ion: W r i t i n g Stigmata 236 Post-Scriptum 244 Notes 247 Glossary 249 Notes 260 Works C i t e d 261 A p p e n d i x : The Poems 279 From Diana Bellessi's Eroica (1988) 279 First Poem 279 v Second Poem 285 Third Poem 286 From Soledad Farina's Albricia (1988) 291 Gabriela Mistral's Cited Poem 291 First Poem 291 Second Poem 293 Third Poem 294 Notes 295 vi Preface This study is situated at the intersections of several disciplines, including philosophy, l i t -erary cri t icism, feminist theory, religion and ethics. It is mainly concerned with alterity, as it is treated by two li t t le known Lat in American women poets, but incorporates refer-ences to a wide range of discussions on otherness. Although produced within a literature department by someone whose academic formation is principally in Hispanic Studies, the exploration I initiate here would not have been possible if my native language were not Greek (in so far as a "native language" can exist) and if I had not previously been trained in Classical Studies and in Theology. M y knowledge of Ancient Greek and Lat in and relative familiarity with theological and philosophical issues proved to be highly relevant. The outcome is not simply an interweav-ing of disciplines but also a constant intersecting of different languages and cultures. This is a "meshwork," written in English by a Greek l iving in Canada about two poets who write in Spanish. It is composed of strands, mes-tizaje, "interwoven (metissees), ill-woven (mal tissees), but woven (tissees) one into the other" (Nancy, 1994b, 118). This tissee text that slides between Spanish, Lat in , French, and Greek is written in English, in gringo: "Gringo [is] the name [which Spanish-speaking people] use for the white American (who claims to be white), [and] derived from Griego, the Greek, who was in the past, the typical foreigner" (Nancy, 1994b, 117). I write in gringo and I am Greek, that is, a foreigner. I would have been positioned as gringa — meaning foreigner, in general, and a woman — whether I wrote this study in English or Spanish or even Greek. Neither English nor Spanish is my native tongue; neither "North American," nor "Hispanic" culture is my culture; I am (dis)loyal to more than one discipline and more than one genre of academic writing; I have studied in more than one department; "back home" I am accused of being a traitor for studying Hispanic language and literature(s) rather than Greek literature, for having Albanian blood, and for abandoning my country to pursue an education abroad. I do not belong: I am, like my study, mal tissee, gringa, Greek, a foreigner; I betray everyone — including myself— and wi l l claim that this may be the only way to betray no-one. vn The analysis presented here is also gringo, in the sense that, although concentrates on recent poetic works produced by two Lat in American women, it also goes beyond Hispanic Studies and the Hispanic world — boundaries and territories that are in any case problematic and porous. This project should be read as a theoretical, philosophical, ethico-political inquiry into issues of otherness and difference, framed by the ideas of Derrida and Levinas, rather than as a study of poetry written by an Argentinian poet named Diana Bellessi and a Chilean poet named Soledad Farina. The first chapter presents a theoretical, philosophical discussion of issues related to alter-ity and difference. It offers a critique of philosophico-theoretical economies that reduce alterity and difference to aberrations of identity. Against these economies, I propose two radically heterogeneous and undecidable "concepts" of otherness, hetaerography and the ghdsst, which both, inspired by Derrida's differance and his recent work on alterity, denote a number of spectral and uncanny effects. They stand for an unencompassable otherness and difference, or an inappropriable foreignness in general. The second chapter reads poems by Diana Bellessi, from her book Eroica (1988), and takes issue with this poetic discourse's essentialism that reduces difference to sexual or feminine difference and subsumes alterity under the essentialist and privileged categories of "Woman" and "Mother." Intermingling the sexual with the ethico-political and borrowing from Argentina's poli t ical context of the disappeared, this chapter introduces an excessive (hyperfeminist), ghostly-ghastly otherness or a disappeared (other) that is inaccessible, in the sense that it is impossible to identify it with Bellessi's essentialist concept of "Woman-Mother" or with any self-present, existing and privileged pseudo-Other. In the third chapter I discuss Soledad Farina's poetry in her book Albricia (1988). Here, I am concerned with her text's enterprise to demarcate, and therefore restrict, alterity and difference by reducing them to the privileged category of sexuality, and in particular the identity or subjectivity of the "Lesbian." This discourse's exclusive category of sexuality and the essentialist de-limit-ation "Lesbian" is haunted by what it excludes, its others. The issue of sexuality is discussed in conjunction with ethico-political issues, which in this case include politico-religious experiences of non-passage, such as Pinochet's fascist regime, and Spain's Catholic fervor in the Middle Ages which led to the expulsion of its vni religious and ethnic others. Allowing the l imit ("border") of sexuality to be permeated by the others that it excludes produces another figure of excessive alterity, the hyperlesbian, "who" is impossible to de-term-ine essentially, and therefore remains inaccessible. This hyperlesbian alterity illustrates difference as non-passage, impasse or impassable, showing how all identity and self-determination conserves within itself its own self-difference, self-prohibition, self-exclusion or impossibility-impassability. In sum, each chapter of this study proposes a fugitive, structurally deferred otherness and difference that always escapes the circumscription of ontological "borders" or prisons and remains foreign (a haunting ghcest) to all projects that strive to confine it within a definition and essentially assimilate it. The choice of Diana Bellessi and Soledad Farina needs justification since both these two poets are fairly new and so far there has been nothing written about their work. It wi l l become clear that my interest in their work stems from the fact that they both belong to an "emerging" generation that attempts to challenge the previous Lat in American literary canon, in which women, gay and lesbian writers, including poets, remained invisible. Be l -lessi and Farina also both deal with themes, such as sexual difference, sexuality, femininity, lesbianism, which were excluded from the literature produced by their male predecessors, who were mostly concerned with more general issues of class or poli t ical oppression in Lat in America . I am interested in this poetry because it comes from, and speaks with the voice of the excluded, as well as achieving formal sophistication. Both women's work is fascinating, not only because it announces a challenge to the previ-ous male-dominated canon coming from women and lesbian poets, but also because their challenge is expressed in powerful language, using new images and tropes. I espouse and support Bellessi's and Farina's attempts to resist and undo the cultural marginalization, invisibil i ty or silence to which women, lesbians, gays and other "minorities" have been confined by most previous writers and literary critics in Lat in America . There is no doubt that both Bellessi and Farina respond to a long-awaited need to speak up and act against the marginalization of women and lesbians. To use a familiar image derived from Lat in America's poli t ical past, the male literary canon had "vanished" women and lesbian po-ets from cultural sight, converting them into disappeared victims. I am not simply using ix metaphors here. It could be said that the previous canon and its supporters maintained their own cultural prisons, camps, and graves into which women, lesbians, gays and other "minorities" were thrown or buried alive, effaced or defaced: in this sense, women and lesbians must be added to the list of Lat in America's countless missing. They were also its desaparecidos(/as), displaced, prohibited, pronounced dead, annihilated, scarred; they were both disappeared others and impassable others. Chapter Two and Three of the present study are entitled "The Disappeared (Other)" and "The Im-passable (Other)" respectively, alluding to the missing woman and the forbidden or displaced lesbian in relation to Lat in America's literary canon. This is my way of paying homage to the courage of Bellessi's and Farina's poetry and an attempt to commemorate the women and lesbians who haunt all the inventions of radical alterity which I construct throughout this study. A l l these inventions conserve the imprint of the defaced woman and the silenced lesbian. However, their poetry raises the issue of essentialism, to which both Bellessi's and Farina's poetic discourses fall prey to in their attempts to protect the alterity of the feminine and of lesbianism. Although I align myself unconditionally with their efforts to safeguard the oth-erness of women and of lesbians, I nonetheless disagree that the solution to their disappear-ance or repression lies in the reduction of their alterity to an essentialist self-determination or self-identity called "woman" or "lesbian." The violence committed against women and lesbians within and beyond Lat in American must not only be eradicated and never al-lowed to exist again, it must also become absolutely impossible to repeat it in any form of exclusion. On the one hand, this study is mobilized by the same cause that inspires Bellessi's and Farina's poetic discourses, on the other hand, it diverges from them regarding the way this cause can be furthered. M y critique of Bellessi's and Farina's poetic discourses is a feminist critique and a call for a feminist-queer-activism., which I wi l l later designate as hyperfeminism or hyperlesbianism. Ul t imately it questions the poli t ical effectiveness of Bellessi's and Farina's essentialist approach to the problem of women's or the lesbians' disappearance or repression. Does their solution manage to eliminate their marginalization or safeguard their alterity from any projects of assimilation that would end up displacing them or vanishing them once more? Is the transformation of feminine or lesbian alterity into an identity that mirrors (and reproduces, inverted) the displacing agent (in this case the heterosexual male-dominated canon) polit ically useful to women and lesbians or to the feminist movement in general? How can the confinement of women and lesbians to a hierarchical or dialectical system of displacements help their emancipation? As a feminist and a woman, I find myself not at all being at ease with restriction to a phallocentric system that excludes me and represses me, or conversely makes me repeat and consolidate it as its mirroring and servile other. I say servile, because in the end I am subservient to the same paternal law that excluded me in the first place, and thus consolidate it further. Therefore, I vanish once more into this law's dialectical prison, I become again displaced, defaced, silenced and invisible, just as I was before: the disappeared woman/lesbian. In Un poquito de justicia, A d a M a r i a Isazi-Diaz (1996) celebrates this inversion as mu-jerismo, the counterpart of machismo, based on the Spanish for woman. The ideology implici t in this inversion is supposedly no longer machista (no longer from the male or the macho point of view), but adapts the point of view of the previously excluded woman and is allegedly an emancipatory ideology. In my view, mujerismo does not emancipate women or lesbians, but subordinates them and imprisons them to the same phallocracy or machista ideology — albeit in inverted terms — and negates them, violates them and disappears them once more. I share the opinion of Chantal Mouffe, that as feminists whose goal is "the struggle for the equality of women," (Mouffe, 1992, 382), we need to consider that such a goal should consist in the transformation of all the discourses, practices and social relations where the category "woman" is constructed in a way that implies subordination. Feminism, for me, is the struggle for the equality of women. But this should not be understood as a struggle for realizing the equality of a definable empirical group with a common essence and identity, women, but rather as a struggle against the multiple forms in which the category "woman" is constructed in subordination. (Mouffe, 1992, 382) Mouffe urges us as feminists, to direct our struggle against any form of discourse (whether machista or its essentialist counterpart, mujerista) that constructs women and lesbians in subordination: "the critique of essentialism and all its different forms: humanism, rational-ism, universalism, far from being an obstacle to the formulation of a feminist democractic project is indeed the very condition of its possibility" (Mouffe, 1992, 382). This feminist xi democractic project cannot be content with the inversion of a dialectical or hierarchical economy in which the feminine principle replaces phallocracy, while the phallocratic hege-mony — albeit camouflaged — and woman's subordination to it st i l l remain intact. In order for a feminist democratic project to be polit ically effective, it must seek to overthrow the hierarchy itself, to exceed the hegemonic system that masters or suppresses women and lesbians, whether in an overt or disguised way. In the following chapters this feminist democratic project as overthrow or excess of the hegemony responsible for the subordination of women and lesbians is called hyperfeminism or hyperlesbianism. This concept of a hyperfeminist democracy is connected to the fact that Bellessi and Farina are writing at a very important historical moment in Lat in America. It is not coincidental that their generation is becoming visible just as dictatorships are beginning to collapse and be called to account — the most notorious example of this being Pinochet in Chile. The new generation of writers prides itself on being witness to the downfall of phallocratic or machista literary hegemony in Lat in America's canon, coinciding with the end of fascism at least in some countries and the return of so-called democracy. Their poetry considers itself to be a subversion of patriarchal hegemonies in politics and literature. M y theorization of hyperfeminist/lesbian democracy would be impossible without Bellessi's and Farina's feminist poetics. This "excessive" feminist democracy, situated between po-etics, ethics, and politics, stems from their feminist project of subverting patriarchal hege-monies and canons. But it also differs from it , since this hyperfeminist democracy implies that women's and the lesbians' escape from any form of subordination is not possible through a mere inversion of the old, violent patriarchal structure, but only through going beyond it. I share their feminist goals but, differ on how to approach these goals. I wi l l suggest that their projects lack polit ical effectiveness, in not being able to avoid ultimately the subjection of women and lesbians to the same old phallocentric or heterosexist law. But I do not dismiss their demands or deny their poli t ical interests and aims. In the end, it is a matter of choosing between a feminism based on identity politics and a feminism oriented towards the radical heterogeneity of women and lesbians, not only in their difference from men or heterosexual women, but among and within themselves. The construction of hyper-xn feminism/lesbianism represents a preference for radical heterogeneity following the "path" of indeterminacy, aporia, and excess, against all hierarchical and exclusionary structures including oppositional inversion or dialectics. While the essentialism espoused by Bellessi and Farina may be considered "strategic," in the sense developed by Diana Fuss, I wi l l draw attention to the dangers of that strategy. As Chantal Mouffe points out: "we must be aware of the fact that (those) feminist goals can be constructed in many different ways, according to the mult ipl ici ty of discourses in which they can be framed: Marxis t , l iberal, conservative, radical-separatist, radical-democractic, and so on. There are, therefore, by necessity many feminisms" (Mouffe, 1992, 382). The poems by Bellessi and Farina permit me to connect Lat in America's poli t ical and social reality with questions of gender, sexuality, sexual difference, and so on. The associations I attempt to establish here would perhaps have shocked the previous male, misogynist literary canon; but they also point to issues the "new" poetic generation itself tends to exclude or forget, namely questions of other oppressions that must be never forgotten, or dismissed as irrelevant. The images in Bellessi's and Farina's poetry also allow me to propose a number of deconstructive "concepts" related to alterity and difference, such as hetcerography, the ghcest, the disappeared, the transferred, the closet, valva, etc. which, although inspired by and greatly indebted to Derrida's deconstruction, have not been theorized as such before either within deconstructive theory or in the field of Hispanic Studies. This study causes deconstruction wander into Lat in Amer ica , while showing that Lat in America , like a phantasmatic foreigner, haunts deconstruction. In attempting this mestizaje, in making both specters (ghassts) possess each other, it wi l l no longer be possible to know with certainty which one is the foreigner, and in whose land, or what might arise from this strange combination that makes the one absolutely open and hospitable to the other. Xlll Acknowledgments M y enormous gratitude to a number of individuals who have made this dissertation possible cannot be expressed simply with a short list of acknowledgments. These individuals have left their profound imprint on the dissertation itself. I am most indebted to my supervisor Valerie Raoul for her insightful and critical comments, turns of phrase and images and suggestions of style as well as her patience and tolerance with the anxiety that accompanies the writing of a dissertation. Many thanks to Lorraine Weir, a constant interlocutor whose polit ical and theoretical keenness shaped much of this study. I am grateful to Isaac Rubio who, during my graduate studies, never failed to remind me of materialist aspects, and shared with me invaluable dialogues, different points of view and debates with remarkable intellectual wisdom and openness. I owe enormous gratitude and love to Kenneth Golby, my first professor of Spanish literature and a very good friend, whose passion for poetry, sensitivity and humanity, his enthusiasm, courage and friendship were so generously given to me. Every single line of this dissertation would have been impossible without his inspiring presence in my intellectual and personal life. I am thankful to the government of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Re-search Council of Canada for a research grant. I also thank the University of Br i t i sh Columbia for providing me wi th The Graduate Student Fellowship and other grants dur-ing my graduate studies. I owe heartfelt thanks and the deepest love to my parents, Vassi l iki and D i m i t r i Chatzi -vasileiou, who taught me an unforgettable lesson of generosity and who, despite their poverty, gave everything for their children's education. M y profound love also goes to my son Mario for being in my life and for reminding me of life, and to my partner, friend and great interlocutor Ray Blaak, for asking unthinkable questions, and sharing with me hopes, frustration and the need to overcome imperfection that sparks better understanding and more thinking. xiv For Ken, Vassiliki, Dimitri, Ray and Mario xv Chapter I Introduction Hetaerography, an Invention of a Radical Alterity "Come . I shal l show you the j udgemen t /o f the great w h o r e . " . . . T h i s " C o m e , " I do not know what it is... Jacques D e r r i d a 1 . . . it seems that one could only invent it in its very otherness, at the moment of address. Jacques D e r r i d a 2 Overview The title of the first section of this introductory chapter indicates that this part of the study wi l l dwell on the justification of hetterography as a construct, or an invention, that designates an inaccessible alterity. Before proceeding to examine the philosophical, l in-guistic and etymological basis of its undecidable play, I wi l l explain in general terms what I understand as hetaerography. In a very schematic manner — it wi l l later be elaborated further — hetaerography is an invention to convey a radical and aporetic alterity. This alterity cannot be understood ontologically as a being, an essence, presence, identity, con-sciousness, person, sex/uality, experience and so on. Hetaerography is simply a structural condition of making something both possible and impossible, of enabling while disabling the constitution of a being or an essence. Above a l l , it is not meant to be conflated with any particular concept or category of Other , 3 whether this Other is identified as Woman, or as Homosexuality, Humanity and so on. Not only do I not wish to reduce hetaerography to any singular Other-being, even more radically I do not wish to give it a being and say that hetaerography is or is not. Furthermore, I want to insinuate that it is the very decon-stitution of being. As we shall also see, it cannot even be defined as the notion or category "other," for it harbors within itself two different others: in relation to, and beginning with itself, it is therefore even other than itself. Hetaerography is also heterogeneous in what concerns itself. 1 The reason I have resorted to inventing such an undecidable construct is that I wish to suggest an alterity that cannot yet be identifiable as such as an alterity. Thus, it cannot be appropriable in determinations such as Woman-Other, Lesbian-Other, or any concept of Other, which some discourses single out, universalize and strive to reclaim and emancipate. These essentialist Alterities st i l l move within identity politics, for they are already pre-established as such. They also become exemplary and unique sites of Otherness whose singularity excludes other others. For instance, some so-called feminist discourses give priority to Woman. This means that what cannot fit into this essentialist category of Other becomes secondary, less urgent, or a lesser other than the Woman-Other. It is consequently driven out, expelled from this privileged space of feminine Al ter i ty considered exclusively worthy of liberation. Hetaerography can be no unique Other. It is, rather, the very structure of disordering such a unique Other, when this Al ter i ty appears to close upon itself as a self-identical category (in the singular name, for example, of Woman). M y invention takes issue with an identity discourse which is disguised as alterity or difference discourse but in which Alter i ty and Difference can sti l l be identified with this or that category and therefore are nothing but a pseudo-Otherness and a false Difference. I call this identity discourse Allocentr ism, in which centrality, privilege and priority are awarded to, or reserved for, the One and exclusive Other. I designate as homoiophylophilia — a term that wi l l later be explained in detail — the reduction of Al ter i ty into the selfsame of a universal concept of Other, whether this Other is a gender, a sexuality, or any specific Heterogeneity or Other transformed into a subject. Homoiophylophilia — against which I wi l l counterpose hetaerography and its various mutations — is a discourse that attempts to assimilate the Other by determining it as such and by identifying it . The structure of hetaerography owes its theoretical basis to deconstruction and commu-nicates with a number of Derridean "concepts" of difference. Hetaerography's focus is on alterity — although difference and otherness are inseparable. Hetaerography's play with at least two different others reiterates the play of differance between at least two differences (difference-deferral), while, beyond differance, hetaerography is more explicit ly concerned with the other. W i t h differance what is interrogated is a metaphysics of presence, identity, and so on, in any of their forms, while with hetaerography I wi l l specifically critique a 2 metaphysics of Al ter i ty and Difference when they are converted into essential instances, into as such, into categories of presence monopolized by a unique Other. In this section I wi l l explain mostly the undecidable play of the invention of hetaerogra-phy between two others: heteros and hetaeros. I wi l l recall the etymological as well as philosophical, "ethical" and "polit ical" significations and ramifications of these two words. They are connected to a relationship between hospitality and hostility and hostage tak-ing, between host and guest, and wil l render a structure denoting an essentialist Other's self-estrangement or self-expropriation that I wi l l call the ghasst. This is another invention of non-appropriable alterity. It is a concatenation of host, ghost, guest and het<aerography, via its diphthong ae. In this fashion, questions of Derridean writing as difference are linked with an "ethics" and "politics" of ghcEstly otherness that has not yet assumed a figure, or a face that has not yet become anything or anyone at a l l , remaining therefore always other, a guest or a ghost, deferred, fugitive and absolutely non-assimilable. The diphthong ae of hetaerography insinuates a heterogeneity which is more originary and radically other than the metaphysical concepts of the Others to be deconstructed, therefore I have placed emphasis on this ligature. I wi l l be playing with this diphthong because, like the a of differance, it hints at an inaudible diacritical alterity between two others. The diphthong's letters mirroring each other provide me with a graphic representation of the spectral game of specularity and exemplarity, the return of an essentialist Other to its selfsame, to its own, to the proper, the return home through the detour to another other. This return is simultaneously a self-estrangement, a deferral, one's straying away from oneself. The return as detour is denoted by the a special character I have created by breaking the in-between spine of the diphthong ae. The t^z also implies the constitution of oneself as trauma (as oneself being one self and other), which is playfully signified through the word a ^ f e e . In a ^ t e I transform the specular selfsame of ae into its crack, the detour of The a ^ t e is also an allusion to Derrida's r x ; , or putting a metaphysical concept under erasure — in this case the concept of the singular Other. Further, the a ^ t e is intended to suggest that hetaerography is an undecidable structure that exceeds the specular or oppositional two, the either/or of dialectics. This excess would be presupposed in an ideal (but impossible in the context of a thesis) formatting of the 3 two sections of this introduction. The reader should imagine the text to be cut into two parallel columns presented across from each other on the page, representing a self-reflexive ae. The blank space in between these two columns would represent a cut, as i f the se were severed by an invisible Another, supplementary column, the second section of this introduction, would be thought of as if running vertically on the page, again interrupting the specular game of the first section. The visual effect would be three separate columns as a ^ t e is also presented as self-wound(ing), as if it were itself ghostly inhabited and traumatized by the other it speculates upon, tending towards its assimilation. This master discourse is wounded by the ghcest or the other it presumes to discuss as its subject. Hetceroglossary: The Knot of In-Betweenness or Hetdsrogra-phy's Diphthong CB plek: blend, fold; braid, twist, weave. This [Indo-European] root has two main offshoots, changing from p to f to b . . . (I) The p forms. From Greek, a number of rhetorical terms, ploce: a weaving of repeti-tions through a passage, symploce: a combination of anaphora.. .anadiplosis: folding back... L[atin] plectere, plexus: fold, weave, plexus, solar plexus: network of nerves behind the belly, "sun" ofthe abdominal nervous system.. .plat, pleach, pleat, plait; p l i -able, pliant, plight, as in sorry plight (the gh from blending with plight: pledge, exercise, from... [OldEnglish] plegan, whence also play/ complicate, duplicate. . . implicate; replica, replicate, supplicate, supplicant, supple, supplement... (II) The f forms. Lfatin] flectere, flexurn. bend. flex...flexion,...inflection, reflect... flask.. .fiasco: first a spoiled flask, used for cheap liquor, flax, its fibers woven... From the Germanic base, fol, came E[nglish] fo ld . . . (III) The b forms. Sp[anish], dubloon, doblon. double, double entendre. Fr[ench] double entente: twofold meaning... exactly In this sense, my discourse on this non-appropriable alterity Joseph T . Shir ley 4 4 I wi l l begin thinking of the invention "hetaerography" by focusing on its diphthong 35 , which makes this word sound paradoxically and simultaneously both familiar and unfa-mil iar to our ears. This double play between familiarity and strangeness is also one of the undecidable effects that affect even the term hetaerography itself. O n the one hand, it gives one the sense that hetaerography can be recognized as a form of heterogeneity, while on the other hand the diphthong ae of hetcEro insinuates a strange alterity: this is an-other, quite different heterogeneity. Through the diphthong something does not quite fit with what we are accustomed to defining as heteros or other. Through this ligature we cannot yet identify that hetceros is truly other. We cannot be absolutely certain of such an other, at least as a conceptual or even grammatical identity. Hetaerography, through this diphthong, is first of all a grammatical, nominal, and conceptual impropriety. There are two structural and inseparable "logics" implici t in hetaerography, which are in-tertwined and which must always be kept in mind: 1) The first concerns the idea that hetaerography is a structure of alterity, the "law" that gives rise to concepts and to any es-sentialist notions of Other; as such a structural "law," it exceeds any category of Other and all oppositions. 2) The second "logic" derives from the name or the concept hetaerography itself. Because hetaerography cannot become another self-identical category of alterity that would close in itself and simply replace another selfsame Other, it must also be other to what concerns itself. Hetaerography is subject to its own self-deconstruction: it is other than Other. These two "logics" are of great importance here and wi l l be put to work in all of hetaerography's variants in this chapter and those that follow. They not only com-prise my methodological modality for deconstructing all metaphysical notions of Otherness, but also propose an indeterminate alterity that exceeds any attempt at identification and therefore at appropriation. I have begun to explain hetaerography through its mark of difference-otherness, the diph-thong ae that insinuates an-other impossible and inaccessible other. Whi le doing this, in a parallel fashion I wi l l be exploring hetaerography's etymological and philosophical com-plexity, and its theoretical points of departure. To mitigate this complexity this section is divided into shorter passages, preceded by the definitions of a number of concepts whose prefix is the Greek word heteros for other. In this way, but without necessarily dwelling 5 on these definitions, I wi l l expose and discuss some of hetaerography's "ramifications" and "attributes," as if I were composing a hetasroglossary, an inventory of my invention. Of course, this inventory is a false one, for hetaerography is not a fixed category with this or that attribute that can be inventoried. However, I have already started this presumed inventory by giving here the root plek, to allude to hetaerography's com-plex-ity and to the diphthongal embrace of ae wi thin this word. The root plek is interesting, because it relates the ligature ae and hetaerography with notions that wi l l appear in this and in subsequent chapters, such as the play (including the puppet or oscillating play), the pledge or promise of the other, replication, and most significantly the double or twofold bind, in short, the indeterminacy which is conserved in the duplicity of the a*"te and in al l the structures of hetaerography throughout this study. The diphtong ae is located exactly in the middle of the word hetceros. In due time I wi l l discuss the play between e and ae also occurring at the word's midpoint. Derrida writes of the hymen that it is a structure of indeterminacy, "a medium located between the two . . . What counts here is the between, the in-betweeness of the hymen . . . Right ly or wrongly, the etymology of 'hymen' is often traced to a root u that can be found in the Lat in suo, suere (to sew) and in hyphos (tissue). Hymen might then mean a li t t le stitch (syuman) (syuntah, sewn, siula, needle; schuh, sew; suo).n Hymen is related to "uphaind (to weave, spin — the spider web — machinate), . . . [to] humphos (textile, spider, web, net, the text of a work . . . and . . . [to] humnos (a weave, later a weave of a song, by extension a wedding song or a song of mourning) . . . The hymen is thus a sort of textile" (Derrida, 1981, 212-13). 5 Like the undecidable hymen that weds and separates, the ligature ae of hetaerography is a plexus that spells out in-betweenness. It is a li t t le stitch that holds together and differen-tiates not only a word — the word hetaerography — but also different concepts of other. Being the in-between space or the distance that separates two different others, heteros and hetceros, but without identifying with either of the two, the diphthong designates an inter-stit ial alterity that has not yet been defined: it is in-between this other and that other. It is their interim where no other has yet been constituted as such. The diphthong suggests an alterity that is as yet no-thing, has not yet come into being and cannot even be called other. 6 Here I am connecting hetaerography with the hymen and a number of other Derridean con-structs such as differance, archi-trace, archi-writing and so on. Through the differential mark of its diphtong 33 , I am attempting to articulate hetaerography as an invention of alterity based on what Derrida calls the play of in-between, entre or spacing and inter-val. 6 In plain words, hetaerography is the Other that is not yet. The not-yet is the keyword here. Not-yet-Other means this Other is not-yet transformed into anything at all ; it is not-yet named as the identity of "Other," is not-yet an essence or a recognizable being. It remains always non-identifiable, that is, always deferred, always other, always heterogeneous. For example, in an allocentric context of retrieving and rehabilitating the Other, recognizing it or naming it as the female Other, it can be said that Woman is while she-is-not-yet. This wi l l be an-other other that the female Heteros is: Woman is absolutely hettero-geneous to "herself." Like Derrida's archi-trace, but in the context of deconstructing an essentialist Other, hetaerography is intended to express the following min imal synthesis: any Other (whether called Woman, (m)Other, Lesbian, or victimized Other, and so on) appears as a self-identity or as essence through its self-refraction into another other. The self-identical Other — again, let us say for instance Woman, to simplify — retains in its "selfsameness" the mark of another other. It is therefore never self-present but always already divided and self-diverted. It is always already not-yet determinable and other than a metaphysi-cal, unique and self-identical Other. To tease the Levinasian expression "Otherwise than Being," let us say that hetaerography is an other otherwise than any essentialist Other. No unique name of Other can monopolize hetaerography. Because it exceeds and makes possible all names and categories of the Other, it is precisely a more radical alterity than any exclusive concept of Other. Not One privileged Other, or dominant and essentialist category of Al ter i ty can appropriate for itself this radical otherness designated as het-aerography. Hetaerography is the force of not-yet, refraction and interruption by which a singular and hierarchically exclusive Other is constituted. As such, hetaerography is the very possibility of this unique entity or concept of Other that under the singularity of its name comes to dominate and exclude other others. To give one more example, in reading Diana Bellessi's poetry and deconstructing its feminine essentialism or Allocentr ism I wi l l argue that Woman becomes a singular and most imperative value of Otherness and Dif-7 ference when she is disappeared as such a predominant Other and as a privileged figure of difference. Hetaerography cannot be attached to any particular Other or to any particular Difference. Consequently, by emphasizing its differential mark, the diphthong ae, situated at the heart of hetaeros, I attempt to insinuate more than one other. Hetaeros is other than simply heteros. The diphthong is a type of medium, in-between all circumscribed notions of Other that posit themselves as determined categories. I do not write "heterography." I play with two (ae) and even more than two Others and therefore I write "hetaerography." Both the word and its diphthong remark on the "logic" of alterity, whereby there is never a determinable Other in herself, himself, itself, just as "[t]here is no metaphysical concept in and of itself" (Derrida, 1982a, 329). In effect, one can say that a fixed and privileged concept of Other cannot appear without its difference from, and even opposition to, other categories of alterity that give it form: "no concept is itself, and consequently in itself, metaphysical, outside of the overall textual operation in which it is inscribed" (Derrida, 1972, 42). Because hetaerography is neither a unique Other nor its opposite pole, but their difference that defines them — i.e. the fact that they can never appear unrelated or in and of themselves — hetaerography's diphthong also alludes to an undecidability of n-either this n-or that, and an in-betweenness that threatens all metaphysical determinations of Other, as well as all oppositions of fixed terms. In the duplicity and plexus of its diphthong, hetaerography "outwits and undoes all ontologies, al l philosophemes, al l manners of dialectics. It outwits them and — as a cloth, a tissue, a medium again — it envelops them, turns them over, and inscribes them" (Derrida in the context of the "hymen" adjusted to hetaerography; 1981, 215). Caputo might have called this hetaerographic in-betweenness "a heteronomic difference . . . not [as] multiplicity, but alterity . . . [I]n this difference . . . [ total ization is . . . destroyed . . . by an unencompassable other which throws the same into confusion, so that the same and the other cannot fold into unity" (Caputo, 1993a, 59). In my context, hetaerography would be such an "unencompassable other(ness)," dispersing any "selfsame" category of Other. Heterography: Spelling that differs from current standard usage; spelling, as in modern 8 English, in which a given letter or combination of letters does not always represent the same word. (Webster, 1988, 633) I wi l l now justify this differential spelling or misspelling of hetaerography, making use of the etymology of the word(s) "hetasros" and other philosophical and linguistic aspects of the diphthong 33 . The definition of misspelling quoted above to introduce this discus-sion, which is incidentally called heterography, is not to be confused with the structure of hetaerography. Hetaerography, marked with the diphthong ae, is not simply a mispro-nunciation, a mis-conception, and a misplacement of the terms heteros-hetaeros. However, with the above definition I suggest that misspelling, phonetic and etymological mistakes are nothing but some of hetaerography's effects, that affect even the name hetaerography itself. Hetaerography misspells and mis-conceives the selfsame term heteros or any unique concept of Other. The misconception of "hetaerography" also exercises its effects on the word "other," in so far as the word "other" behaves as a grammatical and conceptual unity, a fixed category identical to itself. Here, I take issue with the unovocality of the word "other." In discourses on alterity the term "other" is taken as a fact and is often used without questioning its self-identity as a concept or as a grammatical category. The "other," is assumed to be a given as if one knows beforehand what the word or concept "other" means or "is." Such discourses presuppose, at least conceptually and lexically, the term or definition "other" as an essence and a self-identity already pre-established. The "other" already "is" something (in this case, a univocal term). The "is" here denotes that the other has come to be situated, fixed or has become a presence, an identity. The "other" is an essentialist category. 7 From here on, one can easily take the next step. If one already has posited the "other" and knows what the other "is" — for example, a univocal and self-identical concept — one can also claim that the other is also a particular gender, a particular being, a particular species (human, for instance), a particular minority, a particular sexuality, a particular race, and so on. One then proceeds to establish not only the essence of the "other," but a series of fixed essences and categories that strip the other of its alterity and convert it into an identity (for instance, the identity of Woman, Black, Indian, Lesbian, etc., including the identity "other") from which other others are excluded. The play and misspelling of 9 hetaeros, beyond the unique concept of "the other," also questions all these assumptions, making the other sound hetasrogeneous, (at least) double and sti l l unfamiliar to us. I wi l l keep returning to this very important aspect of hetaerography. W h y does the diphthongal knot ae, this alterity marked in hetaerography, fascinate me? Certainly, it is because it misspells and misconceives heteros, conveying an unrecognizable, not-yet determinable, and perhaps monstrous and spectral Other: a misconception. But the same diphthong, the same mistake, is interesting because it also indicates a play of interrupted specularity and resonance. The suspension of reflection is of great importance here because in the second chapter of this study it wi l l be seen at work in Bellessi's poems as ghostly replica-tion, figuration, ventriloquism, etc. Let us patiently examine the two letters ae that pretend to mirror each other impeccably. First , however, I wi l l very schematically present here (and later in more detail) the following explanation. In Greek the ligature ae can be phonetically rendered as e. If one were to pronounce the word "hetaerography," one would say it as "heterography," that is, one would mispronounce it . In this case, the difference between heteros and hetaeros is lost phonetically but not graphically. One can tell the difference between the two only when the word "hetaerography" is written. There are two things that this reveals through the fact that this alterity or difference is constructed so that it st i l l remains unspoken. 1) M y first aim is to imply an other without a voice yet, s t i l l unheard and unidentifiable as a vociferous and vict imized object of lack with only claims and needs. The muteness of hetaerography suggests an other that has no voice and is nowhere to be posited yet to speak (up), particularly as a mouthpiece to a louder Voice and to a supposedly superior Subject that pretends to emancipate the other, restore its speech, and protect it from extinction. In a sense, in its silent diphthong, hetaeros is like Spivak's "quite other" "that cannot speak" (Spivak, 1994a, 104). The mute hetaeros is not resonance or amplification: it is absolutely inaccessible and impossible to assimilate as an amplifier of an even more loudmouthed voice, the voice of the saviour of a helpless and impotent v ic t im. 2) A t a second level I attempt to articulate another very complex relation of failed reflec-tion, representation and echo. This second relation draws on Derrida's deconstruction of the phonologocentric idea in which writing has a specular and lesser value than speech. 10 The written sign, as the sign of a sign, mirrors and resonates a presumably fully-present speech. Note that this relationship between speech and writing is almost equivalent to the hierarchical relation established between the Voice of an all-encompassing and presumably self-adequate Subject and its other — its object of emancipation — which is used as a narcissistic amplifier to consolidate its own superior Self and Voice that allegedly liberates aphonic victims in need. Allocentr ism and phonocentrism are intertwined here. For Der-rida, the fact that writing repeats and reverberates speech perverts and refracts speech as supposedly self-present and self-adequate. Consequently, beyond a self-identical speech and writing as its image and satellite, this unaccomplished specularity and failed repre-sentation constitute the difference from which both speech and writing originate and upon which they depend: In this play of representation, the point of or ig in becomes ungraspable. There are things like reflecting pools, and images, an infinite reference from one to the other, but no longer a source, a spr ing. There is no longer a s imple or ig in . For what is reflected is spl i t in itself and not only as an addi t ion to itself of its image. T h e reflection, the image, the double, spli ts what i t doubles. T h e or ig in of the speculation becomes a difference. (Derr ida , 1976, 36) Hetaerography writes but does not speak. Like Derrida's difference as differance, hetaerog-raphy is a heterography, "a kind of gross spelling mistake . . . a mute irony" (Derrida on differance^ a, 1982c, 3). The duplicity of hetaerography's diphthong splits and doubles. It refracts a unique Other as a "selfsame", for the word hetasros writes ironically two different others: i.e. heteros and hetasros. No Other can yet speak and be retrieved and appropri-ated as voice or as its lack, that is, as the essentialist category of the vict im-Other coded as deprived of speech. Hetaerography is the quiet alterity and/or difference on which both Others, heteros and hetaeros, depend. To summarize and simplify the two levels of the diphtongal play to which I have referred above: 1) Hetaerography is the yet-unspoken alterity and/or difference from which both (and any) others originate; 2) writing here, which comprises the second half of hetaerog-raphy, is not taken in its colloquial sense as graphic representation. In Derridean terms hetaerography's writ ing is the alterity and/or difference, the mute trace that intervenes between heteros and hetaeros and between writing and speech. The key word here is again the "between," that has already been alluded to. It is the not-yet, the delay, the spacing (trace, etc.) of the ligature ae, a hymeneal medium or mute intervention in-between one 11 Other and an-Other, in-between heteros and hetaeros. Thus, hetaerography is a general alterity that exceeds both heteros and hetaeros, both speech and writ ing, and it cannot yet be identified with either one or the other. Hetaerography, through its diphthong, is an otherness as the failure of specularity, where no self or self-identical Other and its opposite ever return to themselves, or yet speak. Like archi-writing, it is a force of "arche-violence, loss of the proper, of absolute proximity, of self-presence, in truth the loss of what has never taken place, of a self-presence which has never been given but only dreamed of and always already split, repeated, incapable of appearing to itself, except in its own disappearance" (Derrida, 1976, 112). In unravelling hetaerography's misspelled diphthong, and in order not to lose the weave in-between heteros and hetaeros, I ask again: why does this diphthong as fascinate me? Hetaerography, through its diphthong, has been invented as a critique of exemplarity. B y the term exemplarity I understand a hierarchical economy whereby a certain Other identified sexually, racially, anatomically, and so on, and a certain Difference (sexual, poli t ical , cultural, linguistic, etc.) become primary and universal models elevated above all others and above al l other differences. These models are paradigmatic. They affirm a unique Difference and recognize a unique Other, and this is the problem, for in the face of this exemplary Other (Woman, for example) any other other becomes secondary and disappears. Privileged categories of Al ter i ty and Difference are given priority over all others. This exemplarity and its desaparecidos or disappeared wi l l be seen at work in both Bellessi's and Farina's poetry. M y critique of exemplarity in the face of the above universalized Others is inspired by Derrida's questioning of the same economy in terms of the national example: What is exemplarity . . . in the history of national, self-affirmation? What happens when a 'people' [for example, the German people, etc.] presents itself as exemplary? Or when a 'nation' declares itself endowed with a mission by virtue of its very uniqueness; as of bearing testimony, and of having a responsibility, all of which are exemplary; in other words of bringing a universal message? (Derrida, 1991d, 93) One can extend these questions to the sexual example: what constitutes an exemplary or unique example of sexuality and sexual difference? What is in this case paradigmatic and 12 singular about the dialectics of the couple, woman, man, "the figure 2, in our culture, that is 1+1, or rather 1 against 1" (Derrida, 1995c, 158), in which some feminism is frequently caught? Or, to direct these questions to essentialist politics and a feminist Allocentrism of sexual otherness: what is so exceptional and imperative about the feminine that in such discourses it becomes so urgently a universal Other and installs "herself" as an al l -encompassing example of Alter i ty that must name, and be given priority over, all others? In various feminist discourses, Woman is the Other Example par excellence. Similar questions can be raised regarding exemplary (homo)sexualities, languages, cultures, genealogies and even exemplary victims and oppressions. What does the transformation of the Other into a model entail? Can any Other be an example or object upon which we can speculate, which we can assume to know before-hand, identify, or claim to make it speak without violating it? Does such an Other not serve as a pathetic mirror to reflect ourselves onanistically and to echo our superior voice? Hetaerography is the suspension of both exemplarity and the hierarchy such an exemplar-ity creates when it affirms and privileges a unique or universal Al ter i ty at the expense of others. In the duplicity of its name, as well as in its diphthong, hetaerography misspells the all-encompassing and singular example of Other, making it no longer determinable, and converting it into a monstrous and gross mistake. We cannot yet single out One example of Other to speculate upon and transform into an object of so-called emancipation, or inquiry, which becomes a violation. Let me intersect this cancellation of exemplarity with Irigaray's reproach directed at phal-lologocentric specularity, "the desire . . . for the self (as same, and again of the similar, the alter-ego, and, to put it in a nutshell, the desire for the auto . . . the homo . . . the male" (Irigaray, 1985a, 26). In contrast to Irigaray, and more radically since she st i l l conserves the feminine as a paradigmatic Other, what I try to do with hetaerography's multiple others is to show that we can no longer single out even Woman as the Other Example. We shall no longer be able to universalize her as such an exemplum of Al ter i ty and turn her into (an)Other speculum for our so-called feminist, or mujerista narcissis-tic auto-contemplation. Hetaerography is an undecidable and self-deconstructive alterity. Its undecidability implies that all essentialist examples of Otherness have never been so 13 exemplary, paramount and unique. A l l exemplary categories of Other are privileged identities or essences that end up exclud-ing and "disappearing" other others. Again , the verbs "exclude" and "disappear" are not coincidental here. They are deliberately chosen to allude also to the Lat in American exam-ple and its countless acts and instances of disappearance, its horrors of exclusion, genocide, exile, death, annihilation, mass-extermination, torture, mass-graves, deportations and i m -prisonments. A l l exemplary Others actually reinstate the hierarchy that displaced them in the first place, since they claim to be unique and more urgent than any other other. Throughout this study I wi l l interweave discussion of the implic i t or potential violence of such exemplarity or universalism and Lat in American examples of despotism and fascism. I use the word "interweave" here because once more hetaerography, with its ae, is an undecidable alterity in-between, across, and beyond sexual and poli t ical paradigms. I have encountered no analogous theoretical analysis in such terms in La t in American studies. The structure of hetaerography and its variants in the following chapters (such as the ghasst, the desaparecidos, the trasladados, the tornadizo, valva, and so on) link two exemplary Others, Woman and Lesbian, with the wider poli t ical context. One other always affects the other and vice versa, one heteros pointing to another heteros, inhabiting one another like spectral and parasitic ghcests, but without ever settling into one or the other, the place is always indeterminately in-between two others (heteros and heteros): hetaerography is not-yet one example (the essentialist category of Other identified as Woman, for instance) or the other (the essence of "the disappeared", for instance). The rationale behind this invention of hetaerography, its diphthong and its mutations, is to provide a tool for a feminist democratic critique of any exemplarity, universalism or homoiophylophilia (a term to be discussed later), a critique of any hierarchical appropriation of otherness by a privileged and universal concept or category of Alteri ty. As Chantal Mouffe suggests: T h i s type of democrat ic project is also better served by a perspective that al low us to grasp the diversi ty of ways i n which relations of power are constructed and helps us to reveal the forms of exclusion present in a l l pretensions to universal ism . . . T h i s is why the cr i t ique of essentialism and a l l its different forms: human i sm, ra t iona l i sm, universal ism [or exemplar ism]. far f rom being an obstacle to the formula t ion of a feminist democrat ic project is indeed the very condi t ion of its possibi l i ty . (Mouffe, 1992, 382) The structure of hetaerography and its other variants — sti l l wi thin the field of Lat in American Studies — relates to traumatic experiences of displacement, disappearance, dis-14 figurement or defacement, the loss of home, experiences of uprootedness, persecution and powerlessness, death, torture, extermination, incarceration, expulsion and so on, without quite being these experiences. Hetaerography cannot be any experience or anything at al l . Otherwise it would be transformed into an appropriable category of Otherness itself, and this is precisely the appropriation I am trying to deconstruct here. In one sense, hetaerography is like the trauma any hierarchical exemplarity of a unique Other inflicts on another other that this particular self-universalizing Other has excluded in order to have the upper hand. The hierarchy itself is, in the first place, such a v i -olence or trauma: "we are not dealing with the peaceful coexistence of a vis-a-vis, but with a violent hierarchy. One of the two terms [one Other, for example] controls the other (axiologically, logically, etc.), holds the superior position" (Derrida, 1972, 36). More radi-cally, however, hetaerography is the very injury, the very displacement that the exemplary Other must first suffer in order to be exemplary, privileged, or unique. In this second sense, hetaerography is the violence performed on the previous violence, or the overthrow of the hierarchical regime. It is the structure of the exemplary Other's self-constitution through self-disappearance and self-effacement. I want to emphasize that hetaerography is the general effect of alterity, whereby a singular Other is a singular and all-encompassing essence only on the condition that it suffers in itself the very dislocation and traumas it in-flicts on other others. Consequently, in a context of female exemplarity in Diana Bellessi's poetry I shall say that Woman suffers in "herself" the disappeared, or the out of sight transferred (los trasladados): "she" suffers them to such a degree that "she" misses herself and becomes the missing. In a context of Lesbian exemplarity in Soledad Farina's text I shall say that Farina's Lesbian is tornadiza, turned away from "herself" and self-encrypted. "She" becomes impossible-impassable like those "her" unique and aggressive subjectivity displaces or prohibits. Because I am talking here about structures and effects that precede and give rise to al l exemplary (universal) categories of Other, it follows that hetaerography (and its variants), like Derrida's differance, cannot be identifiable with any sexually, politically, biologically, or linguistically determined Other, conceptual category, subject, or person or any es-sentialist concept of difference (such as "feminine" or "sexual difference," for example). 15 Hetaerography is an impossible "concept" that exceeds all exemplary categories and "no longer allows itself, never allowed itself to be understood in the previous [hierarchical] regime" (Derrida, 1972, 36), for hetaerography would be the very wounding and vanishing of all exemplarity and hierarchy. Outside of, and threatening to, all regimes, hetaerog-raphy (and its alterations in the subsequent chapters) is an other more unthought than any exemplary Other, because it wi l l always evade us. No liberal Allocentric discourse of emancipation of a unique Other "is prepared to master i t . A n d it (is) that which must elude mastery. Only presence is mastered" (Derrida, 1982e, 65). I have already suggested that the radicality of hetaerography consists in exceeding with hetaeros the only-One-Other schema. It is therefore a sort of "non-concept in that it cannot be defined in terms of oppositional predicates; it is neither this nor that; but rather this and that . . . without being reducible to a dialectical logic either" (Derrida, 1984, 110). In hetaerography's misspelling the diphthong ae reiterates the play of "this and that." For instance, hetaeros would represent both Woman (as Other) and the disappeared (as another other), recalling and exceeding both and without settling into either one. Hetaeros is an etymological knot that condenses contradictory and incompatible meanings in order to allude to a non-assimilable and fugitive otherness that escapes any oppositional mastery and identification. Like differance this non-concept is impossible to restrict to, or condense into a unique or exemplary name; it "is the play which makes possible nominal effects, the relatively unitary and atomic structures that are called names . . . in which, for example, the nominal effect differance [or hetaerography] is itself enmeshed, carried off, reinscribed, just as a false entry or a false exit is st i l l part of the game, a function of the system" (Derrida, 1982c, 27). What this means is that hetaerography in its very diphthongal doubleness and in the duplicity of its others carries within itself its own self-deconstruction. It is thus heteronymous to itself. H e t e r o n y m o u s : Of, or having the nature of, a heteronym; having different names as a pair of correlatives; designating or of the two crossed images of something seen when the eyes are focused beyond it. (Webster, 1988, 634) In general terms, hetaerography comprises two different words in one, inscribing difference 16 within itself. Before its diphthongal alteration, this heteronym would have consisted of the prefix hetero-, which stems from the Greek trtpoq, meaning at an obvious level "other" or "different," and graphe, which is writing. More significantly, hetaerography knots together two different grammatical forms: the two adjectives heteros and heteros and the sub-stantive graphe. Hetaerography plays simultaneously with two entirely different adjectives, heteros and hetaeros, which in English are pronounced the same and heard as heteros, although in Greek they are distinct. In English the difference between the e of heteros and the ae of hetaeros is graphic and impossible to render phonetically. There are a number of significations I wish to account for, in combining these two different words, and they bring us closer to concepts of home, host, hospitality, enemy, guest, ghost, hostage, hostility, etc. A l l these notions are important. Because I am conserving them simultaneously in the invention of hetaerography, they make this word undecidable, an aporia that wi l l assist me in questioning the exemplarity or economy of selfsameness that I call homoiophylophilia. Homoiophylophilia is a term that relates to notions of home, homogeneity, affiliation, kinship, genealogy, proper(ty), belonging in general, fraternity, friendship, etc. Again , I wi l l postpone a more detailed justification of my use of this term for the moment. To return to the two others of hetaerography, to heteros and hetaeros, in Greek heteros has the meaning of "different" and "other," as does alios, which in turn is related to the Lat in alter. When alios, through its Lat in detour of alter, returns to Greek, it becomes allows, "the altered," "the changed," "the mutated." Alios is also related to the Lat in alius, conveying a hostile and polemical difference. In this case, the different other becomes the alien, the enemy, the foreigner, the stranger and even the barbaric. In hetaerography the concept of heteros, of this in imical , inhospitable and hostile other refers to, and is altered by, such a reference through the mark of yet another other: hetaeros has completely different meanings from heteros. Hetaeros is a friend, a brother or sister, a companion, a partner, a relative, a fellow citizen, homoracial, homoethnic peoples (in the plural; these are translated literally from Greek); that is, people that belong to "the same race, tribe and nation." In Greek, hetaeros is linked to ethnos, a community, a totality of people, crowd, population, race, tribe, class, genus, nation, body of citizens, and so on. It is 17 also related to ethos as habitation, custom, character, nature, manners, morals and ethics. From hetaeros stems also another other: hetaera or prostitute, defined in the dictionary — and paradoxically defying the relationship of hetaeros to ethos and ethics — as "a woman lacking 'ethos'" or morals (Dormbarakis, 1995, 342-43 and 52, 255). Beyond Greek in its Indo-European roots, heteros alone appears to imply a combination of "selfsameness" (similarity, identity, unity) and simultaneous alterity. In Indo-European, heteros conserves certain meanings that are found in the apparently unrelated hetaeros. Heteros stems from the Indo-European sm-tero-. The prefix sm., which gives the English o o "same," means "one," "together, similar, equal, the same, identical" (Kle in , 1966, 726). In order to begin discussing the term homoiophylophilia, let us say that the prefix sm relates that which is other and different to the homogeneous, the same, in Greek the homoion. This is a true paradox: heteros is both other and same. The suffix -tero comes from the Sanskrit itara or other and expresses comparison, alternatives (Kle in , 1966, 1378 and 1603). To turn now to heteros, the stem of this word is *swe, which connects hetaeros with notions of kinship, property, companionship, alliance (by marriage), and friendship. According to Benveniste, the root *swe alludes to the concept of self and not only indicates at the same time both distinction and separation, but also relation. Benveniste's tracing of hetaeros's conceptual ancestry mobilizes a number of notions that associate selfhood with belonging, ownership, property and fraternity (Benveniste, 1973, 271). In hetaeros's ancestry there is atomization, alienation, estrangement, and non-relation, but also community, affiliation, association, companionship, identification, fellowship, and even partnership and together-ness. Heterograf t or xenograft: graft of shin, bone etc. from an individual of another species; allograft: a graft of tissue or an organ taken from an individual of the same species as the re-cipient, but with different hereditary factors. (This is a summary of the definitions of heterograft as xenograft or as allograft. Webster, 1988, 633, 1544, 37, respec-tively) What can be seen in the etymological roots of both words are significations that separate 18 them but also connect them. But what is most interesting is not their semantic richness, their common roots and meanings, for here "etymology and philology interest us secon-darily" (Derrida, 1981, 220), but their concatenation, the grafting of the one other onto the other, and the contraction of all their meanings. What is fascinating is the grafting of multiple others and the invention of an unrecognizable and monstrous concept-ion of alterity: "This graft, this hybridization, this composition that puts heterogeneous bodies together may be called a monster . . . The monster is also that which appears for the first t ime and, consequently, is not yet recognized. A monster is a species for which we do not yet have a name . . . " (Derrida, 1995f, 385-86). M y gross spelling mistake, my heterogra-phy or heteronymy — simply put, my construct, hetaerography, is otherwise written and meant, and otherwise named; it is an other otherwise than the other — a monstrosity that gestures towards an otherness that st i l l remains foreign or strange, a "figure of the future . . . which can only be surprising . . . [and] for which we are not prepared" (Derrida, 1995f, 387). This is any exemplary other, and no particular one. It could be aporetically this and that. One wil l be unable to comprehend i t , fix it into either category of heteros-hetaeros, or attribute any particular property or value to it. One wi l l be incapable of normalizing the monster, calculating it, converting it into a determination or norm, transforming it into a program or a manifesto of liberation and trying therefore "to domesticate it , that is, make it part of the household and have it assume the habits" (Derrida, 1995f, 387). W i t h the in-between play of heteros-hetaeros one wi l l even be unable to give this alterity the unique name "Other," or even call it an "Alteri ty." Hetaerography wil l be a monster, or in Haraway's words an "inappropriate/d other" that "cannot adopt the mask of either ' se l f or 'other' offered by previously dominant, modern Western narratives of identity and politics" (Haraway, 1991, 299). It is not entirely fortuitous that I have brought together the words heteros and hetaeros and all their significations. They touch upon ethico-political questions that relate otherness to notions of home, hospitality, hostility, the stranger, the guest, family, ethnicity, citizenship, belonging to a class, nation, sex, affiliation and separation, friendship and enmity, and so on. They even allude simultaneously to philosophical questions of sameness, similarity, identity, subjectivity, alterity, and difference, and explicitly to ethics through the word 19 hetaeros. If my enterprise consists in interrogating the inherent potential violence of any universalism/exemplarism, I must begin by inventing a monstrosity that wi l l inhabit and destroy this exclusionary system from within, and which the hierarchical structure wi l l be unable to recognize, circumscribe and assimilate. Again , this is a methodological aspect that wi l l be left aside for the moment. However, the above observation gives me the oppor-tunity to open my discussion of hetaerography in two interconnected directions. The first one concerns the reasons for designating hetaerography as a monstrous invention, a ghostly hollowing out of violent systems that rehabilitate the other. The second one, to which the rest of this section is dedicated, entails hetaerography's relation to "ethico-political" issues of hospitality that wi l l be examined, mainly with the assistance of Benveniste, Levinas and Derrida. To Invent the Ghcest The watchword of deconstruction, one of them at least, is the open-ended call viensl, come let something new come. John D. Caputo8 Hetaerography is an invention. I do not say this because this theoretical construct is my own invention and therefore I want to announce my property rights over this figure of radical and multiple alterity. In my understanding, such an alterity is "inappropriate/d" and cannot be possessed in any sense by me or by any one at a l l , because it does not exist in the first place. The phrase "hetaerography is an invention" 9 means simply that hetaerography is not yet anything at all that can belong to someone or be owned by any particular person, theory, discourse, etc. It means that the other is st i l l undetermined or yet to come (a venir) "beyond being" (Derrida, 1999b, 166). This is an invention of an unanticipated, incalculable other, the entirely other: Like the future. For the time to come is its only concern: allowing the adventure or the event of the entirely other to come. Of an entirely other that can no longer be confused with the God or the Man of ontotheology or with any of the figures of the configuration (the subject, consciousness, the unconscious, the self, man or woman, and so on). (Derrida, 1989c, 61) If my invention of hetaerography cannot exist yet, cannot have a being or an ontological status, cannot be identified as man or woman, cannot assume the face of any exemplary 20 Other, cannot even be the Other and cannot be possessed as One universal Other, then it can be said that hetaerography is "the other [that] is not yet possible". Hetaerography is an "invention of the impossible" and the non-assimilable that inhabits phantasmatically economies of the self-identical or the "selfsame" and attempts to deconstruct them from within, without itself being able to be conflated with any of these economies. It is an impossibility that disrupts from within any "program of possibilities within the economy of the same" (Derrida, 1989c, 6 0 ) . This is why, in its phonetic resemblance wi th heterogeneity, hetaerography phantasmatically mimes heteros, mimes what we are accustomed to thinking of as the self-identical category of "Other." But hetaerography is not what is habitually thought of as the heterogeneous or the Other as such. It is entirely other than such an Other (i.e. it is beyond the heterogeneous as such, beyond the essence of "the heterogeneous"). It is beyond the invention of the possible, beyond programs and manifestoes of normalized, domesticated and univocal Otherness: O u r current tiredness results from the invention that is always possible. It is not against i t but beyond it that we are t ry ing to reinvent invention itself, another invent ion, or rather an invention of the other that would come, through the economy of the same, indeed while miming it or repeating it ... to offer a place for the other, would let the other come. I a m careful to say "let it come" because i f the other is precisely what is not invented, the in i t ia t ive or deconstructive inventiveness can consist only i n opening, in uncloseting, des tabi l iz ing foreclusionary structures so as to al low for the passage towards the other. B u t one does not make the other come, one lets it come by prepar ing for its coming . T h e coming of the other or its coming back is the only possible ar r iva l . . . (Derr ida , 1989c, 60; my emphasis) I am inventing something entirely strange, undecided, and even aporetic: the ghasst. This word is also an invention that borrows all of hetaerography's multiple meanings and ap-parently contradictory concepts involving hospitality and hostility, friendship and enmity, familiarity and strangeness (the unheimlich), and hostage taking. The ghasst is in-between a (g)host and a guest. It insinuates an indeterminate and unsettling otherness, the not-yet other-that-is-to-come, by retaining the diphthong ae of hetaerography and all the defer-ral effects that such a diphthong entails. Here I am approaching the terrain of excessive "ethics," of a hyperpolitics that takes into account the spectral figure of the entirely other — in Levinas's or in Derrida's words the tout autre — or the wholly stranger. 21 The ghest (alias hetaerography) is a structure of the unencompassable foreign in general, where the foreign is not to be understood in any sense as a person, experience or status. The ghest w i l l appear throughout this study as connected either with uncanny figures of spectrality (like the puppet) and the ghosts and shadows of the missing in Bellessi's poetry, or wi th death, the strangest of al l , the cryptic and the other-to-come in Farina's poetry. Notice how the word ghcest is so deformed, haunted and self-estranged that it can no longer be recognized in terms of the ghost, host or guest, but simultaneously traverses all of these. What exactly do I intend to convey with such a monstrous heterograft (or xenograft, literally the grafting of the xenos or of the foreign)? This question leads us back to the issue of exemplarity, of any universalized Otherness. What both hetaerography and the ghest are intended to haunt is any exemplarity which wi l l be designated as homoiophylophilia, a term that recurs throughout this study. Homoiophylophilia combines notions that also emerge, deliberately and for strategic reasons, in some of hetaeros's significations. Although the entire word is a combination of Greek terms, it nonetheless plays phonetically with English, French and Spanish connotations. Homoio is an allusion to sameness (in Greek homoiotes), selfhood, similarity, analogy, identity, the English home, the French homme, or the Spanish hombre. Phylon is genus, people, race, species, but also the sex of a person. Phylon links gender and sexuality with nationalism. Philia refers to friendship, fraternity and love, and by phonetic or conceptual association, to filiation, kinship and community. The concatenation of all these terms borrows also from a number of concepts examined by Derrida in his critique of the Western history of friendship based on the phallogocentric schema of fraternal love, symbolically "homoerotic," related to the "double exclusion of the feminine, the exclusion of friendship between a man and a woman and the exclusion of friendship between women" (Derrida, 1997, 290). B y the detour through Derrida's Politics of Friendship, homoiophylophilia hints at eros as philia or friendship; homophilia (the pun in this word is between man and same); and philautia, which makes friendship "proceed from self-love" (Derrida, 1997, 24). In another sense homoiophylophilia is analogous to exemplarity and narcissistic specularity. The friend is our double, the Ciceronian, fraternal, phallocentric echo, 'our own image' . . . Cicero uses the word exemplar, which means portrait but also, as the exemplum, the duplicate, the reproduction, the copy, as well as the original, the type, the model. The two meanings (the single original and the multipliable copy) cohabit here; they are or seem to be the same . . . Now, according to Cicero, his exemplar is projected 22 or recognized in the true friend, it is his ideal double, his other self, the same as self but improved. (Derrida, 1997, 4). Derrida's observations on self-love and exemplarity are conserved in homoiophylophilia, but given a further ramification. I have already said that what I am interested in questioning is the self-exemplarity of a unique Other. W i t h the diphthong ae of the constructs hetaerog-raphy and ghcEst on the one hand, I maintain the mirroring and narcissistic effects whereby a universal category of Other appears to recognize its true self through another other (its double). This Other is no longer therefore unique, but just a refraction. The diphthong is like a refracting mirror, or an exemplum in Derrida's words. Notice that my play with the diphthong — which is equivalent to the double other, heteros-hetaeros — is based on two different letters (a and e) that combined in the ligature ae seem to resemble or reflect each other. Given back-to-front and upside-down, the letters seem to be each other's double. But my play does not end here. Through the etymology of the word diphthong, I also add to the above reflection an acoustic mirror, resonance and echo. Diphthongos is a Greek concatenation of di (two, double) and phthongos (voice and sound). Phthongos stems from phthegma — voice, tongue, logos, speech, loud noise, and musical sound. In this manner the diphthong ae in ghcest and hetaerography suggests acoustic duplication, and a distorted phonic exemplarity. It is now the unique voice of a unique Other that is refracted and dispersed: this voice is thus not-yet unique, and does not originate from a univocal source either. The Other's exemplary voice does not return to itself in a narcissistic and self-loving auto-reproduction. It can only resonate and hear-itself-speak10 as an echo. (One should also bear in mind that with this echoic distortion I already repeat the fact that hetaerography can only be a spectral echo: it can only be written rather than spoken.) Homoiophylophilia is another economy of a "selfsame" Other — whether this Other is called woman, mother, the lesbian and so on — and of homogeneity based on resonance, self-exemplarity, resemblance, etc. This Other believes itself capable of always returning to itself, to the "who" or to the "what is." Bu t , homoiophylophilia and self-exemplarity are only optical or acoustic illusions, for nothing comes back the same as itself. The phantasmatic effects that govern these two economies of amour-propre and through which a universal Other never succeeds in materializing as such, w i l l not cease to fascinate me. They 23 wil l appear throughout this study as haunted/haunting labyrinths and graves, uncanny shadows, figures, and masks, the vanished, the transferred, crypts, and ghostly closets. They wi l l always be the escaping ghtest haunting homoiophylophilia or the Other as a selfsame. O n the other hand, the ghcest and its diphthong mockingly mime some of the concepts implici t in homoiophylophilia, which I shall critique. Consider, for instance, that the diph-thong resembles ties, a ligament of filiation and sisterhood, joined or embraced friends, lovers, brothers, sisters, "a solid friendship founded on homogeneity, on homophilia, on solid and firm affinity" (Derrida, 1997, 91). It resembles a knot of kinship, community, communication, family, genealogy. It recreates a circumscribed space, the idea of home, and the proper contained within barred borders. The diphthong is like an umbil ical co rd , 1 1 or genealogical ties and blood relations that recall a maternal, paternal, or fraternal body. Its two letters share the same spinal or umbilical cord, and in this way they seem to be articulating intimacy, brotherhood and love. Two letters, like twin brothers, exist within earshot in the proximity of their joined body and the immediacy of their voice: the diph-thong seems to be a graphic representation of both community and communication. The Diphthong Spooks The ligature ae of (the) ghcest mimes and haunts homoiophylophilia. It implies nothing but spectrality, duplicity, the not-yet, deferral, "the spectral distance," (Derrida, 1997, 288) that affects any category of Other that appears as such, as a homogeneity. It implies that this Other as a selfsame "would itself be inhabited and invaded by its own specter. It would be constituted by specters of which it becomes the host and which it assembles in the haunted community of a single body. Ego = ghost. Therefore, 'I am ' would mean 'I am haunted' . . . Wherever there is Ego, es spukt, ' i t spooks'" (Derrida, 1994a, 133). The words ghtest and hetaerography articulate otherness as uncanny strangeness. Their diphthong se signals in this sense what Kristeva calls, in an analogous context, "[t]he repetition that often accompanies the feeling of uncanny strangeness [which] relates it to the 'compulsion to repeat'" (Kristeva, 1991, 184) and to echo. The diphthong might not speak but it spooks. The diphthong says: Ego = echo. 24 What I wish to haunt here is any concept of Other that can appear familiar — and hence is part of a homoiophylophilial economy — and recognizable as an "I am Woman, Mother, Lesbian, V i c t i m " and so on. This homoiophylophilial "I am" is (the) unheimlich ghasst originating within oneself: To discover our disturbing otherness . . . at the heart of what we persist in maintaining as a proper, solid 'us.' By recognizing our uncanny strangeness we shall neither suffer from it nor enjoy it from the outside. The foreigner is within me, hence we are all foreigners. If I am a foreigner, there are no foreigners. (Kristeva emaphasizes only "our," 1991, 192) The "Ethics" and "Politics" of Hetcerography and the Ghcest Keeping in mind Kristeva's "I am a foreigner" transversed by the phantasmatic "I am ghcest" I begin here my "ethico-political" reading of the inventions ghasst and hetaerogra-phy. Emi le Benveniste gives us a number of etymologies, some of which one can encounter in the two others, heteros-hetaeros, of hetaerography. These etymologies relate host and guest, host with hostility, hospitality and hostage taking, and ghostis as stranger with the Lat in hostia or sacrificial v ic t im. The following is a brief summary of Benveniste's chapter on hospitality in Indo-European Language and Society: In Latin 'guest' is called hostis and hospes < *hosti-pet-. What is the meaning of these elements? What is the meaning of the compound? 1. -pet-, which also appears in the forms pot-, Lat. potis (Gr. potis, despotes, Skr. patih, and -pt- (Lat. -pte, i-psel) originally meant personal identity. In the family group (rfem-) it is the master who is eminently 'himself (ipsissimus, in Plautus, means the master); likewise, despite the morphological difference, Gr. despotes like dominus, designated the person who personified the family group par excellence. *swe, *se [the root of hetaeros], literally 'of oneself derived from the ancient *poti-. The primary sense of *potis had a strong force: 'master,' whence in marriage, 'husband,' or in social terminology the 'chief of some unit, whether house, clan, or tribe. A verb derived from *poti-, like Skt. pdtyate, Lat. potior, 'to have power over something, have something at one's disposal,' already marks the appearance of a sense 'to be able to.' With this may be compared the Latin verb possidere, 'possess,' stemming from *potsedere, which describes the 'possessor.' The notion of'power' (theoretical) is constituted and it receives its verbal form from the predicative expression pote est, contracted to potest, which gives rise to possum, potest 'I am capable, I can.' 2. The primitive notion conveyed by hostis is that of equality by compensation: a hostis is 25 one who repays a gift by a counter-gift. Hostis in Latin corresponds to gasts of Gothic and to gosti of Old Slavonic, which also presents gos-podi 'master,' and formed the hospes. Like its Gothic counterpart, gasts, Latin hostis at one period denoted guest. Ghostis is stranger, hence to be welcomed or feared. Lat. hospes, hospitis, hosti-potis is lord of strangers (cf. also the hosts of hostile armies and hostage). A very well-known word, hostia, is connected with the same family: its real sense is 'the victim which serves to appease the anger of gods,' hence it denotes a compensatory offering, and herein lies the distinction which distinguishes hostia from victima in Roman ritual. The classical meaning of hostis as 'enemy' must have developed when reciprocal relations between clans were succeeded by the exclusive relations of civitas to civitas (cf. Gr. xenos 'guest' 'stranger'). 3. Because of this, Latin coined a new name for 'guest': *hosti-pet-, which may perhaps be interpreted as arising from an abstract noun hosti 'hospitality' and consequently meant 'he who predominantly personifies hospitality,' is hospitality itself. The study of a certain number of expressions relating to exchange, expecially those based on the root *mei-, like the Latin munus, 'an honorific post implying an obligation to recipro-cate,' the personification of a reciprocal contract, *mei-t- in the Latin mutuus (munus and mutuus are related to munis, imunis, communis, parallel to the Gothic ga-mains, German gemein 'common'), Skt. mithu- 'changed (falsely)' > 'lie' also leads us to a word for 'guest': mehmdn in middle and modern Iranian. Another word for 'guest' in modern Iranian, ermdn < aryaman, links up with a very special kind of 'hospitality' within a group of the Arya, one of the forms of which is reception by marriage. (Benveniste, 1973, 71-83) I am expanding hetaerography and the ghcest to Benveniste's ghostis, a stranger to be welcomed and feared, and to Levinas's and Derrida's tout autre and the stranger other. Derrida does not synthesize an undecidable structure (which I call hetaerography) that con-nects an unidentifiable and strange other with effects of hospitality and hostility, friendship and enmity, hosting and hostage-taking, familiarity, foreignness and strangeness. However, he does speak of absolute hospitality, a relation of openness of the self to the wholly other. In his reading of Levinas, he writes of this relation in terms of the host being a guest in his home, being dispossessed of his place precisely when he thinks he is at his place, when he thinks that he is master. This is very important here. Deconstructing all self-identical con-cepts of Other and even the category "Other" itself, hetaerography and the ghcest describe an originary displacement, expropriation and dispossession, which can extend to the case of all essentialist categories of Other, particularly when this Other has been consolidated as such, when, that is, it behaves as a self-identity. This Other is absolutely estranged: heteros-hetaeros, host-guest, a ghcest: 26 we must be reminded of this implacable law of hospitality: the hote who receives (the host), the one who welcomes the invited or received hote (the guest), the welcoming hote who considers himself the owner of the place, is in truth a hote received in his own home. He receives the hospitality that he offers in his own home; he receives it from his own home — which in the end, does not belong to him. The hote as host is a guest [the ghaest or heteros is hetasros]. The dwelling opens itself to itself, to its "essence" without essence, as a "land of asylum or refuge." The one who welcomes is first welcomed in his own home. The one who invites is invited by the one whom he invites. The one who receives is received, receiving hospitality in what he takes to be his own home, or indeed his own land . . . Rosenzweig emphasized this originary dispossession, this withdrawal by which the "owner" is expropriated from what is most his own, the ipse from its ipseity, thus making of one's home a place or location one is simply passing through "even when it has a home, this people [the eternal people], in recurrent contrast to all other peoples on earth, is not allowed full possession of that home. It is only 'a stranger and a sojourner'." . . . [T]he inhabitant [is] a guest [hote] received in his own home . . . the owner [is] a tenant . . . the welcoming host [hoie] a welcomed guest [hote] ... (Derrida, 1999a, 41-2) Hetaerography and the ghcest must neither be conflated with the experiences of hospitality and foreignness, nor with any actual persons and conceptual determinations. They are simply impossibilities. They are relations of positing an exemplary and selfsame Other as stranger to her/him/itself . "The other is a dispossessed place" must be understood as "the Other has no self, is not her /h im/ i t . " It is nothing, or it is a ghcest, or in Rosenweig's way of thinking it is "the 'owner' [who/which] is expropriated from what is most his own," that is, her/his/ i ts own self. The fact is that hetasrographically the ghcest and hetaerography are relations of difference and otherness that evoke experiences of displacement, estrangement, exile, and dispossession without being them. This is because there can be no ethics and no politics that do not recall, and start from, utter and unconditional bereavement and loss. This is so true that — radically speaking and following here both Levinas and Derrida — even this loss is lost, this displacement disappears itself, the estrangement is gone, this dispossession vanishes, this ghcest (always undecidable) itself escapes. These aporias wi l l recur throughout this study. Let me explain: one might read here that the disappearance (or the disappeared) has itself disappeared without leaving a trace. Or, in another instance, I might write, and I have 27 indeed already suggested, that hetaerography is an other without other. What this means is that "the Other only ever ' is ' its own withdrawal . . . The Other is not at first the identical other, but the withdrawal of this identity — the originary alteration" (Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy, 1997, 27). I am simply moving within a hyperethical and hyperpolitical "logic" where I do not wish to construct anything that could ever be appropriated in any sense. To put it simply, I do not even wish to define alterity essentially as estrangement or as disappearance and this is why I shall be saying that such a disappearance is not one, or it is a disappearance without. W i t h i n an "ethics" and "politics" of excess, this is an other that is unconditionally lost and inappropriate/d. (The quotation marks around "ethics" and "politics" denote that this excessiveness also affects what is traditionally and essentially understood as the concepts of ethics and politics.) This excessive process wi l l be repeated with all the variants of hetaerography and the ghcEst. For example, in the third chapter I wi l l be using the familiar (to gay studies) term "closet," but not as it is commonly understood: I wi l l be writing that this closet is not one or is no longer the category or the experience of the "closet." Such a "closet" is an otherness or difference that conceals, and encrypts itself, or escapes all definition. Another aporetic way of saying exactly the same thing wi l l be to write that "this is the loss of the loss," or "it is the alteration of the alteration," or the "hetaerogeneity of heterogeneity," etc. Now, within this "ethics" and "politics" of excess, all my inventions describe also an alterity of excess that is yet-to-come. This is a relation to the other as a postponing, patient, differed-deferred experience of the trace — understood both in Levinasian and Derridean terms as spacing or temporization — which has never been present or taken place. This is the other as hetaeros which is always displaced, or is always the stranger gh&st. This relation could be expressed as the following: I ghmst therefore I am. Here the "I," the subjectivity, or identity assumed by any exemplary Other, becomes dispossessed, haunted and emptied. It becomes a g-host, a host and a hostage. It becomes hetaeros, an other otherwise than an identifiable Other, and otherwise than being-Other. Al ter i ty " in the ethical sense has to be thought 'otherwise than B e i n g ' " (Ziarek, 1997, 131). Hetaerography and the ghasst are instances of unconditional hospitality. They are, as in Derrida's "Shibboleth," the opening of the door to El i jah or the welcoming of the stranger 28 as the wholly other one always awaits, invites to come, or is. They draw from Levinas's concept of "[subjectivity . . . [as] hostage, both in the sense of being held captive by the other. The other is like a parasite that gets under my skin" (Critchley commenting on Levinas, 1999b, 66). This is a haunted subject or an identity that "suffers for the Other" (Chalier, 1991, 127) or suffers itself as other. This is Levinas's ethical subject as "the being-host, the being-hostage . . . [where] the subjectivity of the subject . . . [is] responsi-bil i ty for the Other" (Derrida, 1999a, 55). "Ethical ly" or "polit ically" speaking, identity and subjectivity must always exceed themselves: they become absolutely dispossessed and expropriated. The ghcest, however, is not so much an invention concerned with decon-structing the subject — although it does exactly that. The ghcest or the I ghcest therefore I am is concerned with deconstructing any category of homoiophylophilial pseudo-Other that assumes the position of a dominant subject placed above al l others: the ghcest is "an alterity without hierarchical difference lying at the root of democracy" (Derrida, 1997, 237). The ghcest haunts any exemplary Other that appears as an identity, a human, sexual, ontological, conceptual determination (for example as Woman, Lesbian, and even the con-cept of "Other"). Expanding Derrida's and Levinas's "ethics" and "politics" of the subject as hostage to an essentialist Other as dispossesion, hetaerography implies that the Other as subject or as the essence "Other" is hostage. This exemplary Other-essence/subject is in question ... [I]t finds itself under accusation ... where it passively finds itself and finds itself contested, interpellated, implicated, persecuted, under accusation. We must thus think . . . this other way of inhabiting, of welcoming or of being welcomed. The host . . . is a hostage insofar as he is a subject [or in my context an exemplary determination of Otherness such as feminine alterity, for instance] put into question, obsessed (and thus besieged), persecuted, in the very place where he takes place, where as emigrant, exile, stranger, a guest . . . from the very beginning, he finds himself elected to or taken up by a residence . . . before himself electing or taking one up . . . (Derrida, 1999a, 56) Hetaerography and the ghcest affirm a radical anti-essentialism that refuses to have the other appear in any sense: "The other's appearing as other is constituted by non-appearing" (Caputo, 2000, 41). Absolute hospitality to the ghcest, to this other that cannot yet be known and encompassed, is an opening to the absolutely displaced, to the other which is not yet determined, to the other which "do[es] not belong 'here,' and perhaps . . . do[es] not belong anywhere." As Caputo further comments: "The stranger is to be treated as a friend, as a guest to whom we offer hospitality, like a traveler who is displaced, expelled, or expatriated, who does not quite belong here, who is 'unsuitable' . . . lacking his or her 29 own place, lacking a bonding affinity with us" (Caputo, 2000, 64 and 81, respectively). To invent hetaerography and the ghcest is to open my discursive space, to open my "home" where I/we supposedly master the other to the unsuitable and the incalculable, to the unprogrammable, the not-yet assured, that is, to that which cannot be mastered. In fact, no discourse is ever able or has the power to appropriate the other, for the other is not; it has no particular gender, no proper sexuality, no race, language or culture, belongs to no existing species, no country; it belongs to no one and nothing at al l . It is always the stranger ghasst, that which escapes mastery and assimilation. I invite the impossible possible and undecidable other, the strange hetaerography, to come into (in-venire) my discourse, my "home," because I profoundly distrust and indeed fear all determinations of exemplary Others, al l barriers of essentialist Alterities, all forms of homoiophylophilia, all exemplarism, despotism and mastery, all common grounds of sisters and brothers, all machista or mujerista structures, all families whether of M a n and Father or of Woman and Mother, all heterosexual/sexist "fortresses" or communities, all that dissolves into one common essence or singular name. I am frightened by the implici t terror, death and annihilation such secure grounds continue to spell for those who do not fit under the name of a unique and exclusive Other. I fear the barriers that essences build, be it the essence of truth or being, of art or language, of tradition or community . . . [I] fear the walls that "community" builds against those who are outside the walls, who are exiled, excommunicated, expelled, who seem to those inside to put the community at risk. For after all a "fort," a fortified dwelling, a structure that is walled on all sides from the approach of the other, is one of the most literal senses of community, which is fortifying (munire) of ourselves all around (com). A community is precisely what does not want to take any risks when it comes to the other, to minimize the risk of the coming of the other. (Caputo, 2000, 57) In the experience of the unheimlich, the spectral interval of the not-yet, the always atopic — without place, without becoming a subject, a common topic, ground or theme — an unpredictable other, hetaerography and the ghcest and all their variants wi l l be an appeal to an also atopic democracy of the a venir beyond the certainties of principles, barrier essences and determinations. Based on the always strange and incommensurable, this democracy always starts from utter dispossession and displacement and it is itself displaced or postponed. Like the un-known or not-yet hetaerography and ghcest, this democracy is the excess (and the excess of the political) that moves beyond exemplarism, beyond the 30 despotism of a singular Other, beyond a calculable Other. This is a deferred democracy never present or existent, but always at the point of arriving, as "the Messiah is always and structurally 'to come,' so that even if he were actually to show up one day, the question we would put to h i m is, 'when wi l l you come?' That is because his coming is something that is both given and deferred, as also something we both long for and fear" (Caputo, 2000, 74). Writing With-out Other(s) Overview [Djespite all appearances, there is no concept of the Other. We would have to reflect upon this word "Other" [Autrui] in an artisan-like way, in the realm where philosophy and philology constrain each other, writing their concerns and their rigor — this word "Other" circum-scribed in silence by the capital letter which ever increases the neutrality of the other, and which we use so familiarly, even though it is the very disorder of our conceptuality. Jacques Derr ida 1 2 The question of democracy arising from the strange ghcest leads to other "ethico-political" aspects of hetaerography involving a messianic promise. I wi l l now elaborate on other implications of hetaerography that wi l l appear in subsequent chapters. This section consists mainly of exposing these implications followed by a brief outline of the two chapters to follow. Methodological issues wi l l also be dealt with here. In this section I explore how hetaerography, in its allusion to the notion of the sacrificial v ic t im or host(ia) challenges metaphysical categories of the Other constructed as victimized human beings. Beyond issues of the identity of the v ic t im Other, hetaerography reveals the "disappearing" of such a v ic t im as an (other) g-host that sacrifices itself or gives itself up: the v ic t im is no v ic t im. I wi l l also discuss another ramification of hetaerography that makes use of the eschatological promise of the incommesurable ghcest that is yet to come, in relation to language. This use of language is not to be understood in any literal sense. In both Derridean and Levinasian terms this language simply means ("ethical") commitment to the other, being responsible towards the ghcest, and responding to the call of the other. 31 The New World Other or Otherness Wanted Otherness, like everything else, has fallen under the law of the market, the law of supply and demand. It has become a rare item — hence its immensely high value on the psychological stock exchange, on the structural stock exchange. .. Our sources of otherness are indeed run-ning out; we have exhausted the Other as raw material. Jean Baudrillard13 Parodically adapting the liberating speech of politicians and demagogues and with his usual polemical irony, Baudri l lard addresses the v ic t im Other of the demagogue in these mocking words: ' " Y o u r rights, your destitution, your freedom interest us ' " (Baudri l lard, 1996, 140). What Baudri l lard rants about is "[t]he new identity [which] is the vict im's identity" (Baudril lard, 1996, 137), "the psychodrama of perpetual introjection or rejection of the other" (Baudril lard, 1993, 129), academic or leftist scenarios and soap-operas of oppressed victims, good democrats' fetishes of despondent and impotent Al ter i ty that awaits saviours and protectors. As Baudri l lard might say, like the deficit or the international debt, all these messiahs of the suffering Other buy and sell their vict ims ' misfortune in the speculative market. They demand the Other's rights and the restitution of her/his stolen voice — usually robbed by his/her oppressors. They expose the Other's wounds and afflictions as if displaying a pathetic and pitiful v ic t im in the meat market of so-called progressive intellectuals. This Other, coded as lack, is usually a human, and preferably has a suffering face and no speech. This Other awaits a rescuing enterprise that wi l l restore to her /h im, his/her rights and voice, freedom, subjectivity, essence, identity, being, existence — a better existence. I call this rescuing enterprise of the Other "as [victim] with needs or problems" (Laurence, 1992, 182) Allocentr ism (or Allophonocentrism). Allocentrism is a metaphysical or on-totheological discourse preying on an exemplary Other identified in advance as Woman, V i c t i m , Human, Lesbian, Marginalized, Oppressed, and so on. Here, a unique Other fig-ures as the principal, central and privileged category that forms the essentialist ground of such a discourse. Allocentr ism presumes to know the "who" of the Other, and by extension its gender, its sex/uality, race, anatomy, class, state or existential conditions, etc. It also presupposes in the first place that the Other is something that can be. It assumes that the 32 Other can exist, be a presence, a species, a thing, a person, an entity, a being. It takes as a given that the Other is human, alive and accessible. It presumes that the Other has certain attributes through which it can be recognized as such. Allocentr ism grounds the Other, or Al ter i ty in general, as an ontological truth and posits it as substance, materiality, figure, consciousness. This essentialist Other can be/have a particular name, language, culture, skin, sex, class, etc. It can be found, located, addressed, recognized, classified, victimized, and possessed. As such, this Other can be appropriated because Allocentrism's Other is no longer other: it is an identity, an in-itself, a being, a vict imized essence that can be posited, and domesticated as such. When I say that Allocentrism's Other can be assimilated, I am not implying in any way that alterity can actually be mastered. What is appropriated here is a pseudo-Alterity, or a self-identical Other, for the other can never be mastered, since the other is not. It is precisely what always escapes mastery and determination. Derrida notes that "one cannot and should not submit the other in general, in other words the 'who' of the other that would only appear absolutely as such by disappearing as other" (Derrida, 1995i, 275). Otherness cannot exist or appear as such. It can be said even more radically, thinking of the proposed "terms" of hetaerography or ghcest, that the other can only appear by displacing itself, by dislocating itself or by disappearing. The other is other when it is no longer accessible conceptually or in any sense and cannot be addressed as a being, or even as the univocal concept "Other." This aporetic relation, where something is without being (x without x ) describes the self-effacement of the Other as such. To use Derrida's earlier terms (lately replaced wi th the hyperethical "without"), this is a process of putting something (in my case, the concept "Other") under erasure: Dfcfeer. There are two ways I attempt to indicate this differential and ghostly process: 1) The play between heteros and hetaeros and between ae an e gives me an inaudible, invisible and phantasmatic alterity. This is the other that is crossed out and appears as disappearance, as the blank and ghcestly space of "het( )rography" that one cannot quite hear or perceive. 2) Playing wi th the diphthong ae, breaking the ligature in the middle exactly where the two letters a and e unite, creates a third symbol, the ? t which looks like Derrida's x for crossing out a concept or putting it under erasure. B y this association, "under erasure" 33 becomes "under the a ^ t e " . The a ^ t e , which wi l l re-appear frequently, is versatile in that it acquires extremely im-portant hyperethico-political dimensions, describing a number of other effects apart from the "under erasure" or the "without" and toying with numerous significations. Here I wi l l mention schematically a few of its dimensions. Others wi l l be explained further in the following chapters, and some wi l l be left to the reader's imagination. I have already mentioned impl ic i t ly that the a^fee stands for the disruption and dissem-ination of specularity and of the exemplarity of a unique Other. It is the not-yet, the interval or spacing that prevents something (the Allocentric Other, for instance) from clos-ing in upon itself. It is the undecidable rift opened up in between a particular metaphysical Other, which allows any essentialist Other to be posited or situated as such. The is like the x of" x°jpa o r t h e abyssal chora, itself beyond "any proper determination" (Derrida, 1995a, 99). It is the indeterminacy that makes all determinations or al l determined Others possible. The therefore, is a chasm, an opening, the open door of hospitality to the unknown hetagrography or the non-assured other. In deconstructing Soledad Farina's essentialist discourse, I wi l l critique her creation of borders and "terms," or barriers of essences called the "Lesbian" or "(homo)sexuality." I wi l l challenge her enterprise of converting the other and the lesbian into an aggressive subjectivity, a selfsame, a pseudo-Other, another home, community, place reproducing the phallogocentric home, etc. In this case, any allusion to the f\z w i l l indicate the open or welcoming door to an other not-yet defined as the universalized essence of "Lesbian," or constructed as a violent subject. The a ^ t e is the unencompassable tout autre. It denotes the violence inflicted on violence of exemplarity and hierarchy, and in the implici t mastery of a unique pseudo-Other. This is why the diphthong is made to look like a violent weapon, an a ? t e — also alluding to the hyperethical or undecidable and aporetic double bind of deconstruction. The a ? b e is a "(hetaero)graphic instrument," a "methodological tool" whereby the "graphic 1 or "writing" mean here difference — a difference connected to the double other implici t in the invented word hetaeros. The a ? f e e suggests deconstruction's general strategy or double gesture, called also "split writ ing," "double," "bi-phasing" or "bi-focal writ ing." 34 This strategy "avoid[s] both simply neutralizing the binary oppositions of metaphysics and simply residing, while upholding it, in the closed sphere of these oppositions" (Derrida, 1972, 35). "Bi-focal writ ing" or what I designate here as the a ? t e entails first "a phase of inversion" of a specific opposition, but secondly and more importantly, an excess of the opposition itself (both in its original and in its inverted form) and the construction of an irruptive . . . new "concept," a concept which no longer allows itself, never allowed itself to be understood in the previous [binary, hierarchical] regime . . . . [This undecidable "concept"] escape[s] from inclusion in the philosophical (binary) opposition . . . [while it] nonetheless inhabit[s] it, resist[s] and disorganize^] it, but without ever constituting a third term, without ever occasioning a solution in the form of speculative dialectics. (Derrida, 1972, 36) Thus, the "new concept" heteros entails undecidably two others at once that are not opposed to each other or do not negate each other. I enact hetaeros's bi-focal otherness continuously with all the other structures I invent in the following chapters. When I discuss both Soledad Farina's and Diana Bellessi's poetry, I "write" or create other analogous a ? t e - l i k e or double "concepts" of otherness (see also "Glossary") that involve at once, and exceed, both the masculine and the feminine (the machista and the mujerista account, the phallocentric and the (ph)allocentric economy), the sexual and the poli t ical , the human and non-human, etc. (See below "Methodology"). It is an almost impossible task to enumerate the various uses of the a ? t e in reading Diana Bellessi's poetry. Let us keep in mind that here (because of the deconstructive double bind I am methodically applying to the readings) I am constantly working on two different levels simultaneously: something is taken literally and then exceeded and transformed into something else, something entirely other (see below, "Methodology"). I also give the a J ' t e both a literal and an excessive meaning. On the one hand, the a ? t e is an instrument: it is a tool for writ ing or sculpting and even a torture instrument for disfiguring and defacing. It is also writ ing, including ecriture feminine in literal terms. Through an allusion to the labrys, the double a ^ f e e , to the labyrinth and female genitalia (labia), the a ^ t e becomes Woman, the exemplary Other of feminist essentialist discourse. The ^ t ; is the wooden part from which a puppeteer manipulates her puppets and refers to instrumentality or manipulation in general. On the other hand, the a ^ e exceeds and threatens — indeed like an axe — these concrete determinations. It is archi-writing as the vanishing of self-35 presence. It stands for my own "methodological" tool for "writing," hetaerography, and for difference, or alterity, for "writing" indeterminacy, or in other words for moving beyond all essentialist categories of identifiable Alteri ty. The a ^ t e is the unheimlich dance or oscillation of undecidability. It is the structure of self-disfigurement as self-disappearance or the putting the self-exemplarity of the Other Woman under erasure, under the a ? t e . It is missing the unique female Other, the effacement of sexual difference and its contamination by polit ical difference. It is self-exclusion. The a ? t e is the violence (betrayal) that the exemplary Woman exercises by excising (cutting off, "tearing") other others from "her" paradigmatic space and the violence as self-defacement "she herself" must ini t ial ly suffer in order for "her" to be so privileged and singular. This , finally, brings us to a usage of the a ^ t e that is of great "ethico-political" significance and which in a sense is a common thread that ties the following chapters together. Always according to the specific context I discuss, or depending on the individual case of exemplary Other and homoiophylophilia, the a ^ e is employed to denote the promise of trauma. It is not fortuitous that the e\z resembles an opening o r . a wound and in fact is created by splitting open two embraced letters. The a ^ t e is a scar (a scar itself wounded and unrecognizable: a laceration without; an a * " t e under erasure). Again , I am working in two directions at once. The a ^ t e as trauma relates strategically to those that one could call (and even convert into) victims, although the v ic t im is an essentialized identity that st i l l remains problematic and wi l l be questioned. The lesion that is the a ^ t e mimes all "victims" of violence: the disappeared, the tortured, the disfigured, the unidentified, the battered woman, the bashed lesbian, the exiled, the deported, the dispossessed, the outlawed, those "that the law treats like shit," "the fragments, the leftovers, the leftouts, the remains, the morsels, the outsiders (Caputo, 1997b, 152), los desaparecidos, the missing, shadows, ghosts, the living-dead, those that are so traumatized that they are absolutely beyond recognition. They are so annihilated or disfigured that one can no longer even recognize them as victims or as Others with any particular sexual or racial identity, as woman, man, child, or even human. As Derrida suggests: One of the meanings of what is called a victim (a victim of anything or anyone whatsoever) is precisely to be erased in its meaning as victim. The absolute victim is a victim who cannot even protest. One cannot even identify the victim as victim. He or she cannot 36 even present himself or herself as such. He or she is totally excluded or covered over by language, annihilated by history, a victim one cannot identify. To meditate on writing, which is to say also on effacement — and the production of writing is also the production of a system of effacement, the trace is at once what inscribes and what effaces — is to meditate constantly on what renders unreadable or what is rendered unreadable [victim] . . . [T]here is also the unreadability that stems from the violence of foreclosure, exclusion, all of history being a conflictual field of forces in which it is a matter of making unreadable, excluding, of positing by excluding, of imposing a dominant force by excluding, that is to say, not only by marginalizing, by setting aside the victims, but also by doing so in such a way that no trace remains of the victims, so that no-one can testify to the fact that they are victims or so that they cannot even testify to it themselves. The meditation on writing is a meditation on this absolute weakness, the weakness of what you are calling the victim. (Derrida, 1995f, 389) The a ? b e "writes" absolute weakness. Just as Derrida, in the above citation, exceeds in a very radical way the identity of "v ic t im" and all vict imizat ion, so too the a * " t e has the radical sense of traumatizing all identity or all vict imized Alter i ty. The a ^ t e implies absolute weakness in the sense that no trace of a victimized Alterity remains: there is no vic t im whom a discourse can determine as such, know beforehand, "read," have as its subject, or subject and victimize further. The a ^ t e (hetaerography, the ghcest, and all the other traumatic structures in this study) is the identifiable Other precisely as an identity beyond recognition. It is the traumatic promise that all identity — including the privileged category of the vict imized Other — begins as disfigurement and as lesion. In the specific case of the allocentric essence of the "victim(ized) Other," let us say that the a ^ t e is created deliberately to allude to both a wound and a deadly weapon; and hetaerography and the ghcest, through the etymologies provided by Benveniste, evoke both the gift of a host (and by extension, hospitality) and the v ic t im or hostia. This is how the gift of the a ^ t e — following Derrida's hyperethical gift of death — is understood. It is a promise that all essence, including that of the v ic t im, is given away: the v ic t im gives itself up, or gives up the g-host. The v ic t im is incense-essencelessness, an offering "[p]ure and figureless . . . 'an essenceless by-play . . . of the substance [victim] that rises without ever setting . . . without becoming a subject, and without consolidating through the self . . . its differences'" (Derrida in a different context, 1991a, 42). Derrida's "cinders" — which is also another word for trace — is an offering of ashes. The allusion here — terrible in its frankness but also effaced, encrypted — is to incineration and to the 37 victims of the holocaust: The cinder is that thing . . . that remains after a material has burned, the cinders or ashes of a cigarette, of a cigar, of a human body, of a burned town. But from the moment this concept of cinders becomes the figure for everything that precisely loses its figure in incineration and thus in a certain disappearance . . . It is a trope that comes to take the place of everything that disappears without leaving an identifiable trace . . . Non-identifiable . . . Everything is annihilated in the cinders. Cinders is the figure of that of which not even cinders remains in a certain way. There is nothing that remains of it. (Derrida, 1995f, 391) The v ic t im is ghcest, g-host, cinder, an offering of ashes such that nothing remains of it. To say "7 g-hcest therefore I am''' implies that the v ic t im is that which is always given away, vanished or missing. It is a host or hostia, that is, it is offered, sometimes eaten, sacrificed, capitulated, given up. The v ic t im, the category "v ic t im," is an identity, an essence becoming ashes, incense, holocaust "that happens to translate Opfer . . . sacrifice all holos is burnt (caustos) . . . the putting into play or the setting on fire of everything" (Derrida, 1991a, 46). The v ic t im is no v ic t im, and strictly speaking this vict im's offering is not an offering. This sacrifice, this gift also gives itself up or disappears: it becomes itself cinders in the sense that it is no longer (ve)present-ab\e, is incinerated and never becomes a presence, a determined concept called "offering" that can be appropriated. The offering vanishes, offers or bypasses itself so that it can never be transformed into another essence, or present thing. What I am trying to articulate is that — like Derrida's cinder (or trace) which appears by disappearing, by becoming itself "effaced . . . carried off, incinerated" (Derrida, 1995f, 391) — the v ic t im is the ghcest that presents her/himself when s/he is un-present-able, given up or when s/he loses her/his identity as v ic t im. Aporetically said, the v ic t im and her/his vanishing or offering are not (or are by not being): they are put under erasure or under the a ? t e . The v ic t im as ghcest is an impossibility, therefore it is non-assimilable. It is the impossible v ic t im and the impossible host(ia) that must dispense with all determinations, that must even give itself up, including giving up all humanity. The ghcest bypasses the humanism of Western ontotheologies and all Allocentrisms that circumscribe the v ic t im as being-flesh or as being-Other-human (Woman, Lesbian, and so on): "It has become meaningful in religious cultures for which carnivorous sacrifice is 38 essential, as being flesh. The other such as this . . . is indeed the other man: man as other, the other as man. Humanism of the other man" (Derrida, 19951, 279). To Promise: Language as Bread Given to the Ghdzst There is one final observation that I wish to underline, which in an excessive, "ethical" sense concerns the "promise" of trauma, the gift of hetaerography, the gift of a?fee etc., in relation to language. This issue is very significant because the "language" I propose moves beyond the fact that I shall be reading as a Greek (gringa) two poets who write in Spanish and discussing them in English. The "language" I propose — which, strictly speaking, is not a tongue any longer — exceeds and challenges the uniqueness or exemplarity of Spanish or any other language, as well as what is celebrated in various Allocentric discourses as exemplarily feminine or, homoerotic writing, or mother tongue, or bi- or pluri-lingualism, heteroglossia, babelism, the recovered voice of the oppressed, orality, the Other's speech or the Other's writing, the Other's tongue. (To differentiate between what is commonly understood as language and the "language of promise," I put the latter wi thin quotation marks.) Like all the undecidables that I shall be inventing, this "language" cannot be identified with anything at a l l , with any essence, or category of existing language or " l in-gualism," or "glossia," and cannot belong or be proper(ty) to femininity or to masculinity, to hetero-, b i - , or homo-sexuality, to animals or to humans, to a specific culture or ethnic-ity, to any particular Other. The "language" I am speaking of implies the disappearance of all identity, including its own identity. It is the ghcest, a phantasmatic "tongue" that effaces itself (its own self-identity), "returns to the other, it exists assymetrically, always for the other, from the other, kept by the other, and returning to the other" (Derrida, 1998a, 40), to the other otherwise than an Allocentric Other. Here neither the ghcest nor Derrida's other is to be understood as any category of person, subject, consciousness, etc., but rather as the structure of the "promise." This extends to hetaerography Derrida's proposition of "monolanguage" as the pledge to the other. This is the "promise" of the other that informs or precedes any given language or languages in their "givenness," in their as suchness or in the "there is" or "there exists any language in particular." A n y language is essentially misspoken — just as the ghcest or hetaerography are misspoken — and fails to reach its self, its home. Hetaerographic 39 de-propriation entails this failure of language not only to be owned by any particular Other but also to own itself, to gather a unique identity for itself in the one (for example monolingualism) or two (in bilingualism) or two+n (in multi l ingualism). Derrida's "we only ever speak one language and we do not own it ," his concept of a "monolanguage," is not an allusion to monolingualism in any literal sense, and must not be understood as opposed to b i - or pluri-lingualism: This experience. . . [is] neither monolingual, nor bilingual, nor plurilingual. I t . . . [is] neither one, nor two, nor two+n.. . [This is a] properly improper (uncanny, unheimlich) situation of an uncountable language. . . . The One of the monolanguage of which I speak, and the one I speak, w i l l . . . not be an arithmetical identity or, in short, any identity at all. Monolanguage remains incalculable, at least in that characteristic. (Derrida emphasizes only "n" and "unheimlich". Derrida, 1998a, 29-30) Note here that I am distinguishing between what is commonly understood as language(s) and "language" as the effacement of identity. I am playing with two different levels. In the first instance the word language is taken literally and in the second, the same word means something else: namely, alterity. In accordance with the "method" of the double reading (established above) the usual (or literal) concept of language becomes a "new concept" (an invention) that aquires a different meaning and designates difference. This is analogous to Derrida's usage of writing in its literal sense and in its deconstructive meaning, whereby "writing" is employed as difference. Just as one "writing" should not be confused with the other, so too one "language" (as otherness) should not be conflated with the other or with any language in its literal meaning (French, English, Indo-European, Lat in , etc.). Just as hetcerography and the ghcest represent the incommesurable other, they also convey an incalculable and even impossible other "tongue" ("language" or "writing" in Derridean terms) beyond any exemplary and self-identical Other. They are a "monolanguage" that belongs to no determinable Other and cannot be recognized as feminine, masculine, ho-moerotic, written, spoken, human, heterosexual, or as belonging to any one. In a sense, the ghcest- "language" I am proposing is what in the preface of this study I designated as gringo language, expressing foreignness in general: foreignness as the originary condition by which all identifiable language begins by being other than itself. Hetaerography and the ghcest are a "promise" older than any identity or essence. They are an affirmative 40 excess that opens in hospitality into the future, as a "messianic word" given in advance to the as yet unrecognizable other or to what is to come: "The promise of which I speak ... resembles messianism, soteriology, or eschatology. It is the structural opening, the messiania'iy [without messianism]" that "promises the impossible but also the possibility of all speech" and the possibility of all self-identical (determined) language. This ghcest-"language" "speak[s] of something else and . . . addressfes] itself to the other" (Derrida, 1998a, 68 and 69, respectively). The diphthong ae or the 3r\zG again convey this pecu-liar eschatology nicely: a for an arche — think here of arche-wri t ing — older than any identity and G for eschaton, the messianic promise of the other-to-come. Hetaerography is the other as CLrche and end. The ligature ae repeats what in Levinasian "ethics" is "language" as bound to alterity or as an ethical ob-ligation to the other. The ligature ae is ob-ligation to the ghcest. Once more the excessive "language" that hetaerography is, is offered in absolute hospitality like a host(ia), a gift to the other-ghcest, just as in the following extraordinary image taken from Levinas's hyperethics: "language" is bread given to the other, a "gift . . . like the tongue (language) of my mouth when I tear bread from it to give it to the other" (Derrida, 1991c, 20). The "language" I am speaking of in Levinas's terms is not verbal (see Chapter III), but a response and responsibility to the unencompassable and entirely other; it is commitment to the other that precedes and "command[s] me 'to give to the Other by taking the bread out of my own mouth, and making a gift of my own skin. It means 'a denuding, an exposure to being affected, a pure susceptiveness.' Thus we have to understand the meaning of a self that is 'for the Other" (Critchley on Levinas, 1991, 125). In this sense, hetaerography and the ghcest imply that all identities, al l exemplary, exclusive and masterful categories of a unique Other are powerless and susceptible, host-ages given to the incalculable other-ghcest wi th which everything begins (a rche) as a powerlessness and a trauma and ends (eschaton) as such: all essentialist (pseudo-)Others are impossible. This "promise-language" is traumatic, because it requires that one become other or lose one's identity and one's mother or father tongue, one's writing, voice, speech, etc. In the second chapter I wi l l call this "tongue" of oneself's absolute weakness a language of anguish and stammering blood and in the third chapter a language of re-morse and com-passion. 41 Itineraries As already indicated in the preface, this inquiry crosses more than one boundary and more than one discipline, moving between, beyond and across the philosophical, the ethical, the poli t ical , the literary, the theoretical, and people's actual experiences. A l l these barriers are traversed, cut and patched up, intertwined and negotiated, so that none of them remains intact and none dominates exemplarity over the other. I wi l l both read poetry and theorize, "analyze" and "deconstruct" poetic texts and simultaneously propose a possible theory of a fugitive, incoercible and erasable other, a hetasros on the run that can never belong or be in any sense. The inventions proposed are new, but singularly appropriate in the Hispanic context. Furthermore, the constructs of these inappropriate/d alterities are not the same for each poet or each case of Allocentr ism (essentialist feminism, or essentialist lesbianism), and the a im is not a unique construct encompassing all others. These inventions spring from hetaerography as a general "concept" for deconstructing a metaphysics of Al ter i ty or Allocentrism, and although they work in one general direction, they can be adapted to individual cases of essentialist identities and determinations (such as masculine or feminine, heterosexual or bisexual, etc.) or exemplary (pseudo-)Others under deconstruction. In this sense (and never abandoning the double bind), they are all the same yet differ from hetaerography and from each other, as well as from Derrida's structures, in so far as they depend on, and are constructed according to, the specific context of the particular poet in question, to the extent that it can be delineated. In the following two chapters, I wi l l focus on two mujerista accounts or Allocentrisms, each grounded on, or privileging, a specific exemplarity or a singular (pseudo-)Other. The second chapter takes issue with the Allocentrism that favours Woman-Mother and sexual difference in the Argentinian Diana Bellessi's Eroica (1988). The third chapter questions the essentialist concept of the Lesbian Other and the category of sexuality in the Chilean Soledad Farina's Albricia (1988). Each analysis develops a set of related images. Bellessi's onto-theo-logics of sexual difference, uses weaving as an image of essentialist ecriture feminine, implying a female essence that reflects Irigaray's position that "women's liberation, and indeed the liberation of humanity [!] depends upon the definition of a female generic, that is, a definition of what woman is" (Irigaray, 1996, 65). I w i l l invent 42 a structure called hy(i)lography, alluding simultaneously to the Greek hyle as matter and the Spanish hilo as thread. This invention playfully combines and exceeds a number of concepts that serve to un-ground the Allocentr ism of an essentialist feminism based on Woman-Other in Bellessi's poetry. In the Argentinian context hy(i)lography wi l l serve to recall the disappeared. The third chapter wi l l deconstruct Farina's (ph)allocentrism or homoiophylophilia founded on the category of homosexuality and the Lesbian Other, which both function as essentialist identities. A n aporetic structure that I call valva, drawn from Farina's text, becomes a codeword which plays with attributes that are male, female, human, non-human, animal, or inorganic, etc. It simultaneously evokes notions of passage and impasse, border closing and opening, passing (it) and so on. It is linked to closeting as the encryption, self-withdrawal and self-effacement of the "Lesbian" essence. Valva implies the self-surviving or endurance of the exemplary Lesbian Other as being other than herself, and therefore is what is described in Levinasian and Derridean terms as utter selflessness or com-passion, the mortification and losing of oneself. The structure of the valva or valve evokes (without being conflated with) other histories of impasse and no pasardn: Chile 's mil i tary junta, and Spain's violent history of expulsions of its religious and ethnic others. "Methodology" The reason I surround the word "methodology" within quotation marks is to indicate that the "methodology" of this study borrows heavily from Derrida's "exorbitant procedures" in Of Grammatology, and by extension it recalls all the problems Derrida has posited with regards to the system, the unity, the identity and the concept of method. I have already alluded indirectly to "methodological" questions throughout this introduction to hetaerography. I wi l l attempt in this subsection to sort them out and reassemble them, in order to provide a general and compact view of my approach to the texts I wi l l read. Although the same general "methodology" wi l l be applied to the two texts to be discussed, it wi l l be adapted to the context of each individual text and the reading tools each of-fers. Following Derrida, who applies a number of different structures (similar but never identical) in his readings of different texts, derived from the texts he reads, the inventions 43 produced here to discuss alterities wi l l differ for each text, and affect the readings. The deconstructive, hetaerographic "concepts" introduced are never external to the text I read: "Deconstruction does not consist in passing from one concept to another, but in over-turning and displacing a conceptual order, as well as the non-conceptual order with which the conceptual order is articulated" (Derrida, 1982d, 329). These evocations of alterities originate in the text as its own "signifying structures" (Derrida, 1976, 158) and function as the very im-possibilities of both that particular text and the exemplary or essentialist concept of Other that grounds and inspires i t . The general approach is as follows: 1) A l l possible resources or means of reading are strategically and provisionally extracted from and returned to the texts. When these alterities are re-attached to the text they become altered into something other than themselves. No longer of the same conceptual or metaphysical order as the discourse from which they were previously extracted, they are now something other than it; they are the unthought structural possibility of this Allocentric discourse and of its exemplary Other. 2) To recapitulate, the goal is to deconstruct the metaphysics of Alteri ty, to reveal the exemplarity of al l unique and essentialist Others and the hierarchy such an exemplarity creates. On the one hand, the unthought inventions of otherness produced resemble an other excluded from the individual discursive system of exemplarity that they unsettle. For instance, the structure of hy(i)lography and the disappeared in Bellessi's poetry com-municates with Argentina's missing, excluded from this poetry. However, I do not wish to favor one other at the expense of another. To privilege the disappeared over Woman would be to substitute one hierarchy and one Allocentr ism for another, and to repeat the disappearance or exclusions the feminine had suffered within phallologocentrism or within "patriarchical" structures. To privilege one over the other would not effect the overthrow of hierarchy and exemplarity, which are in fact the problem, but consolidate them sti l l further, and by extension would reassert previous exclusions and violent acts committed against the feminine. The unthought disappeared communicates ghostly or paleonymically with an excluded other (and with woman when "she" is the 44 excluded), but it exceeds both Argentina's missing and Bellessi's essentialist Woman. It resists exemplarity and hierarchization, in so far as it is an-other other, a hetaeros, a heterogeneity, a hetaerographic invention that make im-possible both the hierarchy and its opposing poles: it is beyond the sexual (Woman) and the poli t ical (the disappeared prisoner). It is analogous to Derrida's paleonymic invention of archi-writing, which is not writing in any literal sense, but a "new" concept miming the old concept of writ ing and exceeding both speech and writing, as well as "the . . . logocentric hierarchy," which was favoring one over the other (Derrida, 1982d, 330). Here, archi-writing indicates difference-deferral. Tending towards the more "ethical" and "polit ical orientations" of Derrida's recent work, this study wi l l insist on an unencompassable hetaeros or other, and the approach wi l l sug-gest a radicalization of the tactics of paleonymics without abandoning them entirely. M y tactics can be called hetcerographics, the invention of terms for impossible alterities be-yond Allocentr ism that can no longer be singled out, essentialized, hierarchized, identified, categorized, assimilated and subjugated. They elude an identity and thus cannot be anni-hilated or disappeared as such. Hetaerographics is constructed as a tactics of hospitality, a welcoming invitation to an inappropriable ghcest, the open door to the future other yet to come. The "future other that is yet to come" does not refer to an imaginary, non-existent, or utopic other, since it relates to concrete historico-politico-sexual experiences and existing categories of otherness (such as the disappeared, women, lesbians, etc.). The above phrase is used as as safeguard against re-presenting or knowing the (real) other and subject-ing "her" alterity. Above all the words "future" and "yet to come" are not employed literally to mean something that does not exist but have themselves a paleonymic differential sense. (For a further discussion of these aspects see chapter III). 3) I wi l l frequently make use of another Derridean reading strategy, which wi l l become more prominent in the third chapter. Instead of anulling and/or neutralizing contradic-tions, paradoxes, aporias and inconsistencies inherent in the texts, I wi l l actively insist on them and exacerbate them by leaving them open, unresolved and unsettled. These unsettling indeterminacies, aporias and inconsistencies constitute and threaten al l A l l o -centric discourses and all so-called principal, exemplary, and re-presentable, subject-able 45 and determined categories of Other. The "logic" of aporia and undecidability, is conserved in all these inventions, like the threat of the a ? t e destabilizes all determinations, exem-plarity and mastery. The other cannot be exemplified, re-presented and known, cannot be mastered. Apor ia is inevitable in theorizing a structure that implies "Woman with-out Woman," yet I do not abandon feminism and the feminine. Rather, I attempt to radicalize them by open-ing them aporetically to their other. The same can be argued in regard to queer discourses, and even Marxist discourses (as in Derrida's famous — and much misunderstood — aporia Marxism without Marxism in Specters of Marx). M y discussion does not offer any secure grounds to found any such centrism with its own agendas. M y proposition of a hyper- or excessive feminism is intended as a feminist proposition. Hyperfeminism is an invention, another name for undecidability, for keeping the "feminine" and the "lesbian" structurally indeterminate, "messianic," and thus inappropriate/d. Consequently this aporetic femi-nism of the with-out cannot be reduced to a dialectical schema that either opposes and negates woman or converts woman into an exclusionary agent that ultimately reproduces and secures an inverted phallogocentrism and displaces someone else. I wi l l come back to hyperfeminism in the second and third chapters as well in the "Conclusion" of this study. I avoid relating this "feminism without feminism," to debates over strategic essentialism, a term which has been so much misused and abused, so that it ends up re-affirming and consolidating essentialism (which now favours an excluded other, for example, Woman). M y aim is to pass from this phase of affirmation to a more disruptive and excessive one that requires moving beyond all essences, including that of woman or lesbian. This study takes issue with discourses and systems of representation that in my view essentialize women's and lesbians' alterity and effect this alterity's assimilation. Its most urgent concern is to safeguard women's and the lesbians' otherness from any attempts (intentional or innocent, open or disguised) to reduce this otherness to another instance of appropriable identity. This project tries desperately to maintain women and lesbians and their alterity as radically hetaerographic or hetaerogeneous. 46 Notes 1. Derrida is citing John's Apocalypse (The Bible, Revelation, 17: 1) in Derrida, 1999b, 152. 2. Derrida, 1989b, 39. 3. From now on, when the word "Other" is capitalized, it refers to an essentialist Otherness. However, when the same word appears in smaller case it alludes to an undecidable "concept" of alterity that cannot be converted into a determinable essence or identity. 4. Joseph T. Shirley, 1984, 320-22. 5. Derrida contends: " l[H]ymen'... at least in the context into which [this]... word [has]...been swept, no longer simply designatefs] [a] figure of the feminine body. [It]., .no longer do[es] so, that is, assuming that one knows for certain what a feminine or masculine body is, and assuming that anatomy is in this instance the final recourse." (Derrida, 1995d, 105). The hymen is a structure of undecidability. 6. In Derrida's terms this is the becoming-space of time or the becoming-time of space, which connect the hymen with differance, the structure of the archi-trace, archi-writing, etc. Spacing and interval describe the movement of the not-yet, delay, belatedness and interruption, which a self-present element must suffer in order to be self-present. In Differance, Derrida gives a succinct account of spacing and temporization: It is because of differance that the movement of signification is possible only if each so-called "present" element, each element appearing on the scene of presence, is related to something other than itself, thereby keeping within itself the mark of the past element, and already letting itself be vitiated by the mark of its relation to the future element, this trace being related to the future element, this trace being related no less to what is called the present by means of this very relation to what it is not: what it absolutely is not, not even a past or a future as a modified present. An interval must separate the present from what it is not in order for the present to be itself, but this interval that constitutes it as present must, by the same token, divide the present in and of itself, thereby also dividing, along with the present, everything that is thought on the basis of the present, that is, in our metaphysical language, every being, and singularly substance or the subject. In consituting itself, in dividing itself dynamically, this interval is what might be called spacing, the becoming-space of time or the becoming-time of space (temporization). (Derrida, 1982d, 13) 7. Note that here I am attempting to raise philosophical or conceptual questions about the term "other" and create the multiple hetaeros as that term's excess just as Derrida in Of Grammatology, for example, questions Saussure's concept of difference and constructs differance. My purpose at this point is not to discuss issues of what is the general consensus about this word or any word, term or category. What deconstruction has shown time and again is precisely that all words or concepts (including the word 47 "other" or "difference") can never be identical to themselves. Derrida's trace implies that any concept's self-identity is always shifting and impossible to come back to itself. For a feminist critique of the issue of consensus concerning concepts of language see Jane Flax's "The End of Innocence," 1992, 453. 8. Caputo, 1993b, 457. 9. The term "invention" here does not mean "imaginary." Invention in Derridean terms relates to differance, and describes something that comes (in-venir) as a differed-deferred presence or postponed identity. This is why invention is linked to the not yet which is not the utopic or the unreal. (For a detailed discussion of this aspect, see Chapter III.) 10. To hear-oneself-speak is Derrida's expression. In Speech and Phenomena Derrida points out that in Husser-lian terms: The voice is heard. Phonic signs. ..or the phenomenological voice... are heard [entendus = "heard" plus "understood"] by the subject who proffers them in the absolute proximity of their present. . . My words are "alive" because they seem not to leave me: not to fall outside me, outside my breath, at a visible distance . . . When I speak, it belongs to the phenomenological essence of this operation that I hear myself [je m'entends] at the same time that I speak. The signifier, animated by my breath and by the meaning-intention (in Husserl's language, the expression animated by the Bedeutungsintention), is in absolute proximity to me. The living act, the life-giving act, the Lebendigkeit which animates the body of the signifier and transforms it into a meaningful expression, the soul of language seems not to separate itself, from its own self-presence. (Derrida, 1996, 76-7) Derrida calls this hearing-oneself-speak "pure auto-affection:" [H]earing oneself speak [s'entendre parler] is experienced as an absolutely pure auto-affection, occuring in a self-proximity that would in fact be the absolute reduction of space in general... Requiring the intervention of no determinate surface in the world, being produced in the world as pure auto-affection, it is a signifying substance absolutely at our disposition. For the voice meets no obstacle to its emission in the world precisely because it is produced as pure auto-affection. (Derrida, 1996, 79) In this experience everything originates and comes back to self in an acoustic and narcissistic auto-reflection. 11. The diphthong is like a tissue, a cord of lineage. The Greek word omphalos for umbilical cord is linked to uphe and uphainein or woven cloth and "to weave." See also Derrida's discussion of the rhetorics of omphalos and weaving in Freud's concept of (psycho-)analysis in "Resistances," 1998c, 14-5. 12. Derrida, 1978e, 104-5. 48 13. Baudrillard, 1993, 124. 49 Chapter II The Disappeared (Other): Reading Poems From Diana Bellessi's Eroica Overview To deconstruct the subject of feminism ["woman"] is not . . . to censure its usage, but, on the contrary, to release the term into a future of multiple significations, to emancipate it from the maternal or racialist ontologies to which it has been restricted, and to give it play as a site where unanticipated meanings might come to bear. Judith Butler 1 This chapter focuses on the poetic work of Diana Bellessi in her book, Eroica, published in 1988. The text of the poems in Spanish and in English (my translations) is appended to this study. Li t t le information is available about Bellessi, who belongs to a new poetic generation recently emerging in Lat in America . The poems collected in Eroica emphasize questions of gender, the female body, its anatomy, sexuality, its pleasures or its desires. Her poetic descriptions make use of references to other art forms such as textiles, puppetry, and architecture. There are eighteen poems in the book, written in an extremely hermetic and complex language, illustrating one reason why some critics have characterized the poetry of this generation as elitist. The poems that wi l l not be discussed here deploy many of the same themes and images as those which I wi l l analyze. Throughout Eroica there is a constant preoccupation with writing (as body-writing), the poetic word, language use, textual production, and the female body. A great number of images explored in this chapter appear in many of Eroica's poems. These images that recur connect poetry with other art forms and cultural artefacts, and refer to masks, ghosts, shadows and shadow theatre, sculpting and dissecting, weaving, dancing, the hand, the body linked to the word, voice and music. A number of poems (in particular those included in one of Eroica^ sections called "Dual") deal with the themes of the double and replication, and raise the philosophical questions concerning sameness and difference/otherness explored here. The poems I wi l l read have been chosen because they bring together most of the above themes 50 and images. Although there are as yet no crit ical works that I am aware of about Bellessi's poetic work that can inform my own reading, I wi l l deal here with the "context" that gives rise to her book, and that her book challenges, and examine both the themes and tropes of her poems. However, this chapter is not simply a crit ical reading of Bellessi's poems; it also offers a discussion and critiques of concepts of sexual difference grounded in the exemplarity of a female Other identified as such. I wi l l attempt to destabilize the concepts of sexual differ-ence and of Woman , 2 precisely because in Diana Bellessi's Eroica they are two paradigmatic categories that name and reduce difference to the sexual, and master alterity in the unique name of Woman. According to my argument, this type of feminist, essentialist reclamation of the female Other is ultimately nothing but the return of Woman to the metaphysics of identity, essence, presence, consciousness, self, etc. This is a return to the onto-theo-logy of Difference and of Woman. In this feminine allocentrism or egocentrism of the singular female Other, female alterity is no longer an alterity. It is a determined and rehabilitated Other given a name, a gender, an anatomy, hetero-sexuality, and even a feminine writing that Bellessi identifies as maternal weaving. B y extension, encompassed under the singular category of the sexual, and of Woman, sexual difference is no longer difference. Both the so-called female Other and sexual difference are instances of identity that can be appropriated as such. The main argument of this chapter is that there are no such things as the female Other and sexual difference, and there never have been, and therefore they cannot be reclaimed and assimilated by any discourse. To make this point I wi l l write about female alterity and sexual difference in terms of disappearance. The following deconstructive reading is of a type rarely, if ever, attempted in feminist and Hispanic studies; it is risky and, I am therefore being very cautious and scrupulous in explaining the terms I use in specific ways. The term disappearance here is derived from the poli t ical reality of Argentina's missing (los desaparecidos), while it is simultaneously modified because it makes use of Derridean effects of effacement and disappearance. Although in my reading "to be missing" is perhaps one of the most significant effects of alterity, there are a number of such terms that play with the two theoretico-political 51 contexts mentioned above (i.e. Derridean "concepts" of disappearance and Argentina's reality of the missing) in order to insinuate that the other, any other, is that which is always inappropriate/d and "vanished." The other is gone, disappeared, transferred, missing. Because specifically the female Other is at issue here, some of these terms play at another level with a (presumably) feminine materiality that Diana Bellessi's poems propose. In order to sort out some of the "notions" drawn from Bellessi's poetry (but here altered into hetasrographic structures of disappearance), the following list is useful — with the warning that it is reductive and is created only provisionally, to facilitate the suggested reading paths: 1) Hy(i)lography, for instance (a combination of the Greek hyle as matter, hilar, to weave and hilo, thread), toys with and exceeds the problematic notions of female anatomy based on a reproductive matrix: Woman's sex and her natural threads of shame, weaving as feminine writ ing and so on. "Natural threads of shame" is my ironic reference to Freud's misogynous conception of female pubic hair as a "thick vei l" supposedly given to Woman by nature so that she can conceal her so-called genital deficiency. Freud considers plaiting and weaving — cultural inventions of domesticity, which, according to h im are proper to Woman — as imitat ing nature's model: namely, Woman's pubic hair or natural threads hiding the shame of her genitals, just as clothes cover the nakedness of the body (see Kofman's citation introducing my " 'MethodogicaP Notes," below, p. 56). Because the poems continually refer to natural and cultural threads — as if almost repeat-ing Freud's misogynous conception — such as textiles, masks, cloths and covers, I wi l l open this feminine specificity to the poli t ical and the ethical by l inking Woman, the exemplary female Other, to a cover or cowl of betrayal (capucha). This gives me the opportunity to raise hyperethico-political issues and to argue that any exemplary and privileged Other in becoming unique, excludes, erases and betrays all others, in "her/its" unique name. Again, capucha is a "term" taken from the Argentinian poli t ical reality of collaborators with the mil i tary junta. 2) Sometimes hy(i)lography wi l l be called hy(i)loglyphics. Here the hilos or strings are connected with "uncanny" puppets — their "uncanniness" wi l l be explained soon — and wi th statues, through the Greek glyphics which is related to sculpture, to a mil i tary coup, 52 or to a writ ing instrument, and has the same etymology as kolpos, the Greek word for vagina. Glyphics wi l l designate a type of violent writ ing — beyond ecriture feminine — that effaces, or disappears the essence "Woman." In its association with the a ^ t e , glyphics is an allusion to scarring, defacement and torture, again drawn from Argentina's polit ical past which haunts this chapter. 3) The "uncanny dance of puppets" denotes indeterminacy, the dancing or the unsettling of sexual signs, and in particular of the sign "Woman." Again , two different contexts are implic i t ly intertwined in my theorization of this dance, the one affecting the other. The first is taken from Derrida and his "polysexual dance," a choreography or a "chorus of blended voices" that moves beyond one Other, beyond a singular sex and even beyond the feminine (Derrida, 1995d, 107-8). The second opens the first dance to polit ical dimensions. The dance I am theorizing is also a reference to a kind of torture in Argentina called "the dance," which the privileged female Other of Bellessi's poetry inadvertently re-enacts by excising and erasing the polit ical other (i.e., the disappeared) from its exemplary space. Bellessi's advocacy for feminine writing effects this violent excision, as the stylus of ex-emplary feminine weaving becomes a scalpel, an instrument of torture. If Woman or the female Other (as categories) wants to be unique and exemplary and dance alone, then such a privileged category's dance of exemplarity is a violent dance of exclusions. 4) "Daedalus" is a god of crafting, sculpting and writing, whose name is etymologically related to female genitalia. Here this word reiterates the significations of hy(i)lographics and hy(i)loglyphics. It is further connected to other effects that denote the uncanny ghcest: spectrality, specularity, simulation, disfigurement, defacement-effacement, shadows, repli-cation, ventriloquism, etc. In its "polit ical dimensions," Daedalus is an allusion to the cavernous, the prisons, the graves, the torture chambers where one disappears for ever. This god of the a ^ t e implies: a) a traumatic self-disappearance and self-defacement; b) the implici t exclusion and violence that the exemplary feminine Other inflicts upon others given lesser value because they are not included (here Argentina's poli t ical prisoners). This list wi l l be enriched with other het aerograph! c structures all presupposing one another. These structures, drawn from Bellessi's text itself, show it as a book of poetry grounded in the allocentric category of the female Other that reads itself against itself, never returning 53 complacently to its selfsame. We shall have the opportunity to consider these structures in detail. A further explanation is needed here, concerning an ideal reading of the following section. There is a visual effect which I shall give only once, but which is presupposed throughout this chapter, divided into sections called "Footnotes of Dance." This is a title that seems to be dangling from strings attached to the symbol (as presented in the following section entitled "Footnotes of Dance: 'Methodological ' Notes"). I have created this symbol by splitting the diphthong 33 of hetaerography. The *\z here resembles the wooden cross from which a puppeteer controls her/his puppets. Because I am speaking of a dance of oscil-lation and indeterminacy, of unheimlich figures and "feet that dance by themselves," and of a traumatic and violent dance that communicates with torture — without quite being it — I provide dance foot-notes suspended on the page like uncanny puppets. The word "footnotes," is taken in various senses. It refers to Freud's uncanny "feet that dance by themselves," or to his discussion of the uncanny based on wooden dolls, automata, or wax-work figures as severed limbs and bodies. I wi l l later elaborate on this with the assistance of Marjorie Garber's essay on puppets, "Out of Joint." "Footnotes of Dance" is also an allusion to Derrida's polysexual choreography, literally a notation made by dancing feet. "Footnotes" further refers to what is conventionally called a footnote in academic writ-ing, obviously altered here into something else, and it even suggests disfigured "dancing" bodies, where dance is torture and the ftz is a wounding instrument. The entire visual effect is intended to evoke the implici t exclusions that Bellessi's exem-plary female Other inflicts on its others and Woman's own self-disappearance and self-defacement. In addition, and more importantly, it is meant to haunt and traumatize my own discourse, to suggest the displacement and disappearance my discourse exercises upon its own others, to those my writing keeps silent about and forgets. This is a hyperethical moment. Inscribed here and within any discourse, carved with an a ^ t e , are al l these others one wants to disappear and forget about, but that one is never able to forget. For they keep haunting Bellessi's Woman, and this chapter, like ghassts, just when one thinks that one has managed to chase them away. "Footnotes of Dance" is also an altar and a monument to the memory of this study's own disappeared. This is why the first "foot-54 note" is framed as i f it were a sculpted altar or gravestone, carved with an a ? t e . Another "footnote" wi l l later make the same point by simply giving actual names of people who "disappeared" during the mil i tary regime in Argentina. Quotations introduce these eary and spectral "footnotes" that inhabit my text, citations from either critics or other writers, which are relevant to various themes of this chapter, such as the puppet, the labyrinth, etc. "Methodological" Notes \ '[A]ctL8a\o<;: [Dsedalos] SaiSciXeoq 'artistement travaille;' AacSaXoq; SaiSciXXto 'tra-vailler avec art': skr. dalati 'crever, eclater' dalayati 'fendre' dalam parte arrachee, morceau, moitie (puis danda- m. ou n. 'baton, gourdin, massue' < i.-e. *dol-ndo- ou *del-o o ndo-...), lat. dolo 'faconner, charpenter' dolabra 'doloire' dolium 'tonneau'...mod. 'forme, figure'...,m.h.a. zol( l) . . . is-zolle 'glacon' m.b.a. tol tolle 'branche, extremited'unebranche' need, tol '*cheville; toupie'...; < *dl-no- *dl-na-. . . v. norr. taiga 'coupe, taille' telgia o o 'tailler'm.h.a. zelge zelch 'branche' (base dele-gh cf lit. dalgis 'faux'v. id. dluigim 'scindo' in-dlung 'Undo')... dalis 'parte'(= skr. dah'h 'motte de terre'...) tal 'empreinte signe, vers' talem j' imprime, je marque au fer chaud'... cf. s.v. SciXXei [dallei], StXroq [deltos], [SeXra, delta], SnXtopac [deleomai], [8r\Xr)rr\piov, deleterion] AtXra: [Delta] < hebr. dalet, cf delet 'porte'; par analogie, pays en forme de A: 'delta' ^ ; des bouches du Nil...; 'aiSofov ^vvatKtiou' [lit. honte feminine ou organes genitaux ^ y feminines]...; f etym. qui, dans ce dernier sens, faisait de SeXra un mot independant (< \ i *g^e\-)apparentea skr. jartuh Vu/va'jatharam 'ventre'got. ki lpei 'matrice'( s.v. . ^ I ° ° I ^ / v ^ 55 - ^ \ Bpt4>oq [nouveau-ne, be'be, petit enfant]) • [Tympanum, vestibular canal] "Anatomical term. Irregular cavity that is part of the in-ner ear. Genital vestibule, the vulva and all its parts up to the membrane of the hy-men exclusively. Also the name of the triangular space limited in front and laterally by the ailerons of the nymphs [small lips of the vulva] and in back by the orifice of the ure-thra. .. " Littre. . .Tympanum, Dionysianism, labyrinth, Ariadne's thread. We are now trav-eling through (upright, walking, dancing), included and enveloped within it, never to emerge, the form of an ear constructed around a barrier, going round its inner walls, a city, therefore (labyrinth, semicircular canals — warning: the spiral walkways do not hold) circling around like a stairway winding around a lock, a dike (dam) stretched out toward the sea; closed in on itself and open to the sea's path. Full and empty of its water, the anamnesis of the concha [in Spanish, slang for cunt], resonates alone on a beach. Jacques Derrida4 If woman is silent, if she keeps a "thick veil" drawn over herself and her sex, she must have her reasons, and good reasons, for wishing to remain enigmatic: she has to hide that "cavity filled with puss," she has to hide the fact that she has "nothing" to hide. By seeking to make herself enigmatic, woman is only continuing the work begun by nature, which covered over her sex with pubic hair. Woman, in inventing weaving, was only "imitating" nature. .. [Freud:] "Shame [Scham], which is considered to be a feminine characteristic par excellence but is far more a matter of convention than might be supposed, has as its purpose, we believe, concealment of genital deficiency. We are not forgetting that at a later time shame takes on other functions. It seems that women have made few contributions to the discoveries and inventions in the history of civilization; there is, however, one technique which they may have invented — that of plaiting and weaving. If that is so, we should be tempted to guess the unconscious motive for the achievement. Nature herself would seem to have given the model which this achievement imitates by causing the growth at maturity of the pubic hair that conceals the genitals. The step that remained to be taken lay in making the threads adhere to one another, while on the body they stick into the skin and are only matted together." Sarah Kofman5 It is the exemplary Other sex that this chapter "deconstructs." Because the poems llll Emile Boisacq 3 I I 56 Bellessi that I shall be reading insist on a female corporeality presumed to be specifically centered around female genitalia, the reader wi l l notice that many of my differential struc-tures play with this so-called feminine or sexual specificity while exceeding it and making it vanish. Even what I call hy(i)lography plays with feminine writing as weaving, only to overcome it and become the very disappearance of the essence of "feminine weaving." For feminine weaving becomes an essentialist, maternal counterpart to the paternal logos, celebrated by a certain feminism. Weaving as a form of ecriture feminine is an essentialist category like the concept "female Other," which sustains "feminist" (ph)allocentrism in a reversed economy. In this "feminist" (ph)allocentrism it is not the Law of the Father that now has the upper hand, but its Other: feminine writing, Woman, the mother, the previously excluded. "Feminist" (ph)allocentrism replaces phallo-logo-centrism, a mujerista economy replaces a machista account, but the potential violence of exemplarity remains. Matter and body, mother and Woman, writ ing, the Other Sex (which is not one, to recall Irigaray) t r iumph over spirit, logos, speech, the One Sex (read male): but nothing has changed, there is st i l l a head and a phallus/variation or equivalent, an exemplary excluded Other, that now herself excludes and dominates. The master has only changed names: female ph-Allos for male phallus, gynocentrism versus phallocentrism, and mujerismo versus machismo. In this chapter and in general, I align myself with radical feminists who seek to theorize Woman as "inessential" or as an impossibility. Beyond the constraints of gender, sexu-ality, sexual difference, the number and the opposition of two, the identifiable sexes and opposites W o m a n / M a n , and the dialectics of mujerismo versus machismo, I shall write of the Woman-Other as yet more radically other or otherwise than such an essence of a st i l l identifiable Alteri ty. I shall appeal to the innumerable, an unrecognizable Woman that has disappeared as such, has not yet happened, "does not exist. She can never exist, and this is because she is always to come" (Caputo, 2000, 144). I shall write of woman as ghcest, the stranger, wholly other, to whom we owe the most absolute hospitality. This hospitality entails a resistance to identifying her, giving her a proper name of Otherness, or a property we can allegedly reclaim, vindicate, and possess. We owe this welcome to the other: to never know "her" as a "who," or whether the other is a "she," or i f it "is" at al l : "one 57 cannot and should not submit the other in general, in other words the 'who' of the other that could only appear absolutely as such by disappearing as other" (Derrida, 1995i, 275). W i t h i n the Derridean and Levinasian hyperethical context of the tout autre, Caputo speaks of a woman as a Messiah that is yet to come. Rewrit ing Maurice Blanchot's story of the coming of the Messiah, Caputo tells this tale: Once, when the messianic woman was to be found disguised, dressed in rags, among the wretched of the earth, someone approached her and, identifying her as the Messiah said, "when will you come?". The point of this story, . . . is that we not confuse the coming (venue) of the Messiah with his — we rewrite — her presence. For the Messianic Woman is always to come, structurally to come, so that she cannot be identified or reduced to her presence, and indeed is'meant to confound the present, to disturb and disrupt the present. Thus, in a way that Lacan never dreamed, it is true to say that the Messianic Woman does not exist. (Caputo, 2000, 144) It could be argued that Blanchot's or Caputo's allegory is a masculine fantasy projected upon women and must be dismissed as such. However, in her "feminist alliance with deconstruction" Druci l la Cornell (who has inspired my own theorization of hyperfeminism) establishes an "ethical feminism" (Cornell , 1993, 59 and 100) which is oriented towards Derrida's and Levinas's wholly other and conceptualizes "woman" as the messianic tout autre that comes as excess beyond presence and identity. Instead of "remaining] under the sway of masculine symbolism" (Cornell , 1993, 105), Cornell 's messianic or "ethical feminism" implies a change of imaginaries that transforms the masculine images of the Messiah into a "feminine" figure. Cornell writes that woman is an impossibility, a not-yet, something that we cannot know "what 'sex' [it] is or what it cannot be . . . Love for the Other as the heteros, as other begins where any system of knowledge that attempts to capture the Other, leaves off" (Cornell , 1997, 197). A n in-vention (the in-coming) of the other-to-come involves a dis-appeared woman, with no assured determination or essence. A n "ethical" feminism — beyond a (ph)Allocentrism vindicating One exemplary Other — wil l no longer be a po-li t ical program and a manifesto recognizing exclusively the rights of the feminine and the maternal/heterosexual at the expense of others: "ethical feminism rests its claim . . . not on what women 'are,' but on the remembrance of the 'not yet' which is recollected in both 58 allegory and myth" (Cornell, 1993, 59) such as the allegory of a woman messiah. I proposed an excessive feminism based on Druc i l la Cornell 's "feminist alliance wi th deconstruction" that wi l l not comply with any -ism, and wi l l belong neither to machismo nor to its in-versed copy, mujerismo. It wi l l not be attached to any name, anatomy, body, or person. This hyperfeminism implies a constant questioning and displacement of the constraints of sex and of the very opposition that relies exclusively on man and woman (and on human beings) hierarchically posited and pitted against each other. This feminism I am speaking of wi l l not only invent woman but also itself, inventing "unheard-of and incalculable sexual differences . . . at a distance from the main forum of feminist activity" (Derrida, 1995d, 93). This feminism wi l l be unrecognizable, undecidable because it wi l l be a questioning of all identity including itself; it wi l l be what puts a sexual determination under question, an unheard-of feminism, a feminism with-out feminism that exceeds itself as well as its grounding category of Woman. It "disturbs and disrupts" the being-present of Woman and turns towards the unrecognizable and the incalculable "woman" as the tout autre. This wi l l be a feminism so radically hospitable and open to the imminent and unknown heteros that it wi l l even give up its most precious possession, the essence of "female Other," as well as giving itself up as Woman's (ph)allocentric proprietor. It wi l l capitulate and renounce any property claims in the most hospitable offering of all its possessions to the ghest, a gift to the "woman" messiah yet-to-come. Hyperfeminism does not possess anyone and anything, and in fact takes issue with all attempts to appropriate the other. Its radicality consists of the fact that it would rather safeguard women's alterity by keeping it aporetic or undecidable, and thus, non-appropriable (as identity or essence). Hyperfeminism may be thought of as a "deconstructive process" of violent structures from, but also beyond, the point of view of the feminine, and like deconstruction, it always finds itself in-between, never settling into any particular ontological ground, and never taking for granted any category of homogeneity, whether it be called "the feminine" or "the mascu-line," "the human" or "the non-human," etc. In the following citation, Derrida speaks of democracy as deconstruction, but one can also think of hyperfeminism in the same terms, namely, as a process of continuous questioning, cri t icism, deconstruction — democracy as it is understood in Derrida's radical terms (to be discussed in the next chapter). Der-59 r ida writes of deconstruction: "one keeps this indefinite right to the question, to cri t icism, to deconstruction (guaranteed rights, in principle, in any democracy: no deconstruction without democracy, no democracy without deconstruction)" (Derrida, 1997, 105). It is not fortuitous, therefore, that I have linked this hyperfeminism with deconstruction, with Druci l la Cornell 's "ethical feminism," and with the (ethico-)political realm as it unfolds in Lat in America 's violent history of fascism. Hyperfeminism is the questioning (the decon-struction) of the violence of the unique in any of its forms, and is consequently a constant demand for democracy and justice. Although hyperfeminism is an anti-essentialist femi-nism that takes issue with all attempts to essentialize the feminine, sexual difference or woman, I s t i l l consider it as linked to a democracy and justice that takes into account the feminine, which was a previously displaced or disappeared in Lat in American culture. Hyperfeminism relates deconstruction and Derrida's idea of democracy to the feminine and to women (and lesbians), as among Lat in America 's missing vict ims. Although Derrida does not propose such a feminism or hyperfeminism connected to democracy in Politics of Friendship, he adapts the point of view of the feminine— so to speak — by critiquing the traditional concept of democracy as a phallologocentric concept. In short, hyperfeminism comes from and also exceeds the point of view of the feminine, and implies a radical in-terventionist, democratic-feminist politics that interferes with, critiques and interrupts al l exclusionary structures. In accordance with this radical feminism, which I am inventing here, the differential struc-tures that cut across the feminine are nothing but "unheard-of and incalculable" others or differences "at a distance from the main forum of feminist activity," to use once more Derrida's observation. For example, in some of these structures one encounters a play with matter and femininity, with what are presumably female genitalia, pubic hair or Woman's sexual organs. The word organ here is very significant, for it is l inked to weaving, to puppets, to the pubic hair as strings and to Woman as an identifiable Other that becomes a manipulable organ-object in the hands of "feminist" (ph)allocentrism. A number of such terms used here combine an allegedly specific female corporeality with myths or mythical figures. Thus, the pubic hair is also an allusion to weaving as ecriture feminine, as well as to Ariadne's thread, 60 "the suspended veil , the cloth" (Smith and Ferstman, 1996, 201) that suspends, masks and disappears Woman and her proper writing so that they never return to themselves. Daedalus also has some relationship to female genitalia, as Boisacq (cited at the begining of this section), notes. A similar relationship is maintained with my invention of the a^te, which — apart from being a reference to trauma, torture and violence — conserves the mythical value of the symbol of Daedalus, the god of craftmanship, writing, sculpting or glyphics. Daedalus is the god of the a?te, writing, crafting, inscribing, sculpting, cutting, scarring, etc. W i t h the a?fce I bring together male and female elements: for labrys, which is the Greek name for axe and a feminine symbol, is in this case related to labyrinth. I shall later recall Irigaray's connection of the labyrinth with female genitalia. For the time being, let us say that labrys is also the "double-bladed ax wielded as a scepter by the Amazonian Goddess under her various names of Gaea, Thea, Demeter or Artemis . It was a ceremonial weapon, though perhaps originally used as a battle-ax by Scythian female warriors" (Walker, 1983, 523). This is not to imply that things are the way they appear to be, or that Daedalus, for instance, is "writing the feminine" and so on. Above al l , I am not attempting here to reaf-firm the same essentialism and (ph)allocentrism that I critique, by believing in a specific female corporeality or by reconstructing the essence of "female Other" based on symbol-isms, myths, anatomical traits, and biological determinations. On the contrary, I want to cut across this essentialist field, and inhabit the repressive regime from within, as the only effective way to intervene and produce something entirely other otherwise than a (ph)allocentric female Other. As explained in the introduction, all inventions can be ef-fective only by inhabiting the same, by passing through the violent system of exemplarity — here of female exemplarity — and scarring with an a?be, by stigmatizing (see also "Conclusion: Wri t ing Stigmata" at the end of the present study). Because they become the disorder of the same, these inventions can no longer be encompassed by the feminine, the metaphysical, the ontological, the biological, the anatomical, the anthropological and so on. The same could be argued regarding structures that do not relate explicit ly to the feminine but recall the poli t ical , such as the trasladado, the disappeared, capucha, etc. Appearances here are not to be trusted, including any as such, any conceptual identity, 61 including that of Woman and her sex, the Other, the feminine or the poli t ical , and so on. Paleonymy or hetaeronymy are the "methodological" strategies that I use here. Paleonymy is Derrida's term to designate a tactics whereby an old name is conserved while referring to something else (or new), usually a structure of difference: "Tradition's names are main-tained, but they are struck with the differences between the major and the minor, the archaic and the classic. This is the only way, within discourse, to mark that which sepa-rates discourse from its excess" (Derrida, 1978c, 272). Paleonymy is inseparable from the strategy of invention. I replace paleonymics with hetasronymics only to orient this tactics towards the other or hetceros that takes issue with (ph)allocentrism or a metaphysics of Alter i ty. A l l essentialist Others hetaerographically become other than themselves. They become swept, transported or trasladados into an-other context and signify something dif-ferent than themselves. As I come across terms that interest me in Diana Bellessi's poetry, I wi l l also make very clear the two different levels according to which these terms are employed in this chapter. The first level usually concerns the traditional or colloquial signification and the Bellessian usages of these concepts, and the second level concerns my rereading of them, my inventing them as impossibilities or as structures of inappropriate/d otherness. Footnotes of Dance: To Begin the Dance of Puppets and Strings You will soon see how the cellar branches out... Not only have I imagined these games, I have also meditated on the house. All the parts of the house are repeated many times, any place is another place. Jorge Luis Borges6 Covarrubias writes on the word titere [Spanish for puppet]: "Certain marionettes which foreigners usually employ in some puppet displays. By showing only the puppet's body they [the puppeteers] manipulate them as if the marionettes were moving by themselves . . . Another type of Uteres . . . is the ones that have wheels like those of a clock [and] by pulling their strings, the puppets make certain movements on stage, so that they seem animated persons . . . " 62 For Corominas the origin of the word titere is uncertain. The word retablo [puppet play or display] comes to designate the altars, when imagery was introduced as a decorative element in churches. Carlos Luis Alardo7 The "Context" of Diana Bellessi's Eroica Bellessi's poetry, collected in a volume entitled Eroica (1988) belongs to a so-called "emerg-ing" poetic generation dealing with sexuality, sexual difference, gender issues and so on, which "breached the male-dominated poetic canon in Lat in America , notorious for its ob-jectification of Woman, for its disdain of woman poets unti l very recently, as well as for its repression of homosexuality and even more of lesbianism" (Fio l -Mat ta , 1995, 204). This poetry has been (rather too quickly) characterized by its critics as a product of an unsat-isfied bourgeoisie, since it is no longer interested in economical, class, or racial issues or issues of Lat in America's tyrannical regimes, as was traditionally the case for the works of the "great masters of the poetic word" such as Pablo Neruda or Cesar Vallejo. In my view, the distinction between these two generations in terms of exclusion of themes is very problematic and tenuous. It is problematic in itself because it is often observed by critics in order to serve subsequently as an accusation: the new generation has abandoned and betrayed the great Marxist ideals of its masters, through which they inspired and led the Lat in American people in their liberation. What matters now in this "new" poetry is no longer the emancipation of the oppressed pueblo but the liberation of Woman from an oppressive patriarchy, from the fetters of Lat in America's phallus or machismo. As wi l l soon become clear, it appears to me that this distinction is condescending, at least as far as this "new" poetry is concerned, and can only be useful in underlining that both poetics through opposite paths have one way or another displaced or expelled a figure. They have operated through the same hierarchy which they strive to remedy and which divides themes and interests into primary and urgent and secondary or t r iv ia l . They both have privileged an Other and a Difference — in the case of Marxist poetics, usually exemplified as class and polit ical difference, and in the case of Bellessi's poetry exemplified on the basis of gender, sexuality and sexual difference. Nothing is more telling of Bellessi's proposition of feminine exemplarity — supposedly remedying the patriarchical exclusion of 63 the feminine by the masters of Marxis t poetics — than the title of her book, Eroica, which in English translates into Eroics. E r o i c s is a "feminine," "maternal" response of love and erotics to the "masculine" he ro ics of Marxis t poetry, displacing its masters and Bellessi's "forefathers," who in their turn had created their own displacements of the "feminine," excluding issues of sexuality and in particular female homoeroticism. Eroics replace heroics. Woman substitutes for man. Gender is placed above class. Sex-ual issues t r iumph over polit ical issues. The sexually marked body and matter (the body of the female Other), and by extension a feminist materialism, substitute for a Marxis t materialism. In this eroic enterprise of the vindication of Woman, the body demands its own ontological status, its being and meaning, "to being meaning, to being there" (Nancy, 1994a, 10), to being-Woman-body. The undoing of the exclusion of Woman involves her rehabilitation as body. This is a materialist variation of onto-theology whereby Alter i ty or the Other is reduced to the being of the body and the body of being. Usually, the "femi-nist," (ph)allocentric restitution of bodies that matter is accompanied by the reparation of the Other's tongue, the reclamation of her previously shattered or mutilated voice. Where it was man's repressive voice heard above all (phallo-logo-centrism), now it is woman's writing in the form of a craft (weaving): the material letter and body that matter uniquely and as exemplary repress al l . To summarize, one can say that one exemplarity replaces another, but the truth is that both cases (Bellessi's and her "forefathers'") share the same metaphysical dream of masters and servants. Bellessi's eroics presents us with a reverse and specular hierarchy that st i l l believes in mastery — in the mastering of Otherness, in one Other being the master — and perpetuates a system of hierarchical repression. The master now is Woman rather than man, and the feminine (ph)allos rather than the phallus: "The specular reversal of masculine 'subjectivity,' even in its most self-critical form — that is, where it is nervously jealous both of itself and of its 'proper' objects — probably represents one necessary phase. Yet it s t i l l belongs to the same program . . . " (Derrida, 1995d, 92). Bo th eroics and heroics in their own way displace and exclude and enact violence against that which does not fit in , or belong to their exemplary space, or place of domesticity. Bellessi's unique and all-encompassing example of redeemable Otherness is Woman (and Mother) . In Marxist 64 poetics (a combination which I find problematic) the example is el pueblo oprimido, the oppressed people. But both expel and cause something or someone else to vanish. They both disappear and deface an other less urgent than Woman, for instance, from their narcissistic, allo-centric paradigms of Otherness. They both efface, in the singular name of an-Other, another other, or others we do not yet know, an other that does not yet have a name, a face, a class, that does not even have a proper voice or means of expression. This other is totally, utterly disappeared. I want to read this disappearance as an alterity more originary than the exemplary Other-Woman. I want to see this vanishing as an alterity affecting the exemplarity of Woman or as making possible the as such of Woman. W i t h this vanishing I do not want simply to reverse a hierarchy of displacement, but to exceed and disappear the hierarchical system itself. Certain concepts, which I have introduced at the beginning of this chapter, arise from Eroica, presuppose one another and assist me in this direction. I shall read those poems in which I am interested in a different order from the one in which they appear in the book. I do so because some of the ideas presented in relation to the first poem explored here serve to organize my interpretation of the second and third poems. Reading, then, the poems in this order is a matter of organizing my own thinking and concepts, facilitating my analysis of the themes and tropes of this poetry. The first poem discussed is located on pages 81-84, the second one on pages 56-58. There is also a third poem on page 23 of the book which is examined briefly. (The "Appendix" of this study provides both the Spanish original and my English translation of the poems). 65 The Hyperfeminist Dance of the Puppet as Indeterminacy or as the Im-possible Woman In the first poem Bellessi writes about a poem as a puppet theatre in which each scene is "other," or generates another different scene: "cada escena / genera otra / . . . / sobre un retablo / interminable" ("each scene / generates an other / . . . / on an endless retablev 82; a "retable" is an altarpiece, puppet play, or display — I wi l l return to this word). This constant production of different/deferred otherness — reminiscent of the Derridean trace which never points back to itself but always to an-other trace — is also expressed in the poem as "rotacion del signo" (82) or "spinning of the sign(s)." These signs create the poetic composition referred to as "Joyerfa minuscula / de la hierba" or "miniscule jewelery / of cotton grass" (83). These lines allude to tapestry and weaving. Another scene in the poem is about the dance of a dancer disguised behind a mask, whose identity is never disclosed by the poem: "como alza un bailarin / con infinita gracia / su rostro / tras una mascara" ("like a dancer [who] lifts / with infinite grace / [his] face / behind a mask" [81]). This refusal to identify specifics, to have a sign or a scene point at an-other, is precisely a dance; one that makes sexual signs and identities disguised or unrecognizable: "a dance [that] changes place and above all changes places. In its wake they [proper places] can no longer be recognized" (Derrida, 1995d, 94). "Bai lar in" or "dancer" is masculine here, but there are a number of metaphors that are superimposed one upon the other, one indicating an other exactly as i f they were spinning signs or scenes on an endless tapestry, altarpiece or puppet play. "Bai la rm" refers mainly to the paper on which the poet alluded to writes "her" poetic composition. In the same poem Bellessi writes that " E l papel / habla" or "The paper / speaks" (84). The paper's voice is perhaps an allusion to the poetic text inscribed on the page. In Spanish "papel," for paper, is grammatically masculine, but the same word also means "(theatrical) role." The Spanish expression "desempenar un papel" is rendered in English as "to play or to perform a (theatrical) role." "Papel" is used to signify a character in a play, or the role or function of someone or something in general. Regardless of the fact that "papel" and "bailarin" both refer here to "paper" and are both grammatically masculine in Spanish, in Bellessi's poem the word "paper" is taken literally as a writing page, but also becomes 66 a "retablo," the stage of a puppet play, the page-textile and page-stage of spinning or dancing textual signs and scenes. The paper is, furthermore, like the endlessly unfolding signs-scenes it contains; it is spinning "role(s)," a dancing persona itself, a dancer. Thus, this word (and the word "bailarm," which connotes "papel") must be understood here beyond its masculine gender. In fact, paper signifies the very disorder of gender identity (whether masculine or feminine). "Papel" is a persona, the dance of identity, and identity is "papel"-persona. One is reminded of Judi th Butler 's ideas on the performativity of sexual identities. It can be said that in Bellessi's poem, paper is the dance of personae, like the dance of the ghcest (the other) or of ghosts. (Person as related to persona is both face and mask and this is an ambivalence I wi l l retain in the term "rostro" taken from Bellessi's poem.) In this dance (as in spinning signs or scenes) a sexual identity has the face (that is, wears the mask) of another identity, points to an other, is always other, perpetually deferred. This identity (which is never able to close upon itself) is disappeared; it is a persona-ghcest. The paper as a dancer that wears a mask describes the dance of the puppet, an object symbolizing oscillation and pendular indeterminacy, ironically playing with and exceeding sexual signs or any signs of identity dialectically opposed to each other: "The puppet's ground is not . . . [a stable] ground" (de M a n , 1984, 287-8). This is the dance of deferral, displacement and disappearance of any essence or identity, whether called Woman or M a n , whether in (ph)allocentric, mujerista eroics or phallologocentric, machista heroics. M a n or Woman are faces, that is, masks, that is, personae. When the puppet dances it oscillates. It is an (n)either ... (n)or, never settling into One (person) or the Other. The puppet's dance, indeed, is a dance of excess, cutting across more than One exemplary sexual sign that "can dominate with a single voice, a single tone, the space of . . . the 'proffered discourse' [which] is then signed by a sexually marked patronymic" (Derrida, 1995d, 107), or in Bellessi's matronymic. Beyond masculine or feminine mastery, the puppet's pendular dance signals a "choreograph [y] [of] poly sexual signatures . . . [beyond] the neuter, the apparently least suspect sexual neutrality of 'phallocentric or gynocentric' mastery" (Derrida is not speaking here of puppets but of a polysexual choreography; 1995d, 107). In the puppet's oscillating dance, Woman has not yet occupied her own place: "[A]ll the 67 signs of sexual opposition . . . [might change]. M a n and woman [might] change places. They [might] exchange masks ad infinitum''' (Derrida, 1979, 111). Woman has not yet become the occupant of a proper place, of her own sex, anatomy, body, etc., which a certain "feminism" can in its turn occupy and domesticate. The puppet's dance therefore is a hyperfeminist dance insinuating the not-yet of Woman (and Man) , the im-possible, the disappeared "woman" dancing with her face, which is a mask, a persona for an-other. I shall be returning to this dance to discuss a number of other implications. For the moment, suffice it to say that the lines cited from Bellessi's poem give us the opportunity to connect two things: dance and puppetry. These are two terms that — as I have already started to imply, at least in the case of dance — describe something beyond two different modes of artistic expression, beyond dance and puppetry as they are generally understood. Simply put, both dance and puppetry describe a certain disappearance of the sexual determination "Woman" (or Man) and account for a certain undecidability. In a hetaerographic context, one can say that they are ghcests, effects of displacement and indetermination: they are other than, and exceed the female Other (and all identity categories, including that of M a n , human, etc.). There are a number of influential essays written on puppets, mostly as a mode of artis-tic expression. Although these essays do not read marionettes in terms of the ghcest, they nonetheless supply a theoretical context from which I can pivot to the phantasmatic structure of alterity I call the ghcest, and which I understand as disappearance or as the impossibility of Bellessi's essentialist female Other. Although Majorie Garber's "Out of Joint" does not take issue with an allo-onto-theo-logical female Otherness, especially in the hetaerographic terms I am proposing to descontruct it with, her essay nonetheless deals with puppets, in a reading of Freud's "The Uncanny:" Freud's essay "The Uncanny" took as one of its starting points Hoffmann's fantastic tale about the wooden doll Olympia, and the "impression made by waxwork figures, ingeniously constructed dolls, and other automata;" Freud singles out "dismembered limbs, a severed head, a hand cut off at the wrist, . . . feet that dance by themselves" . . . as "peculiarly uncanny . . . especially when, as in the last instance, they prove capable of independent action." (Garber, 1997, 41) 68 The reference to uncanny "feet that dance by themselves," denotes a kind of disfigurement, a body in parts. This is the dance of alterity, the dance of the severed l imb and "the unjointed ' jo int '" (Garber, 1997, 41), is an uncanny choreography of apparitions and ghosts and "dancers behind a mask." It is the dance of alterity in the sense of a refusal to identify, of deforming identity, deforming a specifically sexual corporeality, de-facing a human substance, in the sense of d i s j o i n t i n g the subject: the " 'subject is in the most radical sense 'out of joint ' : it constitutively lacks its own place" (Zizek cited by Garber, 1997, 39). The body is disfigured into disjointed parts like a puppet, like "feet that dance by themselves." The body can no longer be organ-ized and form a whole by which one could attach to it a sexual identity, a properly female substance, for example. W i t h a polit ical twist appended to the sexual, I shall return to this disfigurement and lack of organ-ization, connecting them with the dance of torture. The extremeness of my attempt to recall the tortured — an unrecognizable phantasm or ghcest, reduced to absolute figurelessness and thus to an impossible identity beyond recognition — is not intended to raise pathetically pitiful and demagogic empathies for victims of polit ical violence. Rather, this extremeness is designed to haunt Bellessi's female Other in al l the potential violence of its own exemplarity and the disfigurement such an exemplarity impl ic i t ly exercises upon its forgotten others. Neither is this extremeness intended to substitute the polit ical example for the female example, to return, that is, to Bellessi's "forefathers" and their ideals. A replacement or reversal of examples is the first phase and the most superficial level of my deconstructive reading of Bellessi's poetry. In the second phase, I shall c laim that the disfigured, the disappeared other or ghcest exceeds both Woman and the poli t ical prisoner, the missing and the tortured victims of Argentina's poli t ical reality. This unthought-of other and figureless excess, "woman" as the tout autre is a differential structure responsible for both the allocentric category "Woman" and the category "missing." But one could also say that the figureless v ic t im is by definition so deformed and so absolutely erased, defaced and damaged by the violence of a unique master or tyrant that not even the essence or the category "figureless" v i c t im remains or makes any sense. It is meaningless to say that something or someone is figureless because, by definition, that which is figureless is not 69 there, is nothing. Al ter i ty is not Woman exclusively, exemplarily. The other is precisely an uncanny and broken figurine — like those of Freud — that one cannot figure out as any particular category of Other. Alter i ty is the defaced or it is the dancer's "face behind a mask," as in Bellessi's poem. Alter i ty is a ghcest-puppet. I am not taking the word "puppet" in its literal sense, or as a mode of artistic expression, but in the hetaerographic context as figurelessness, the refusal to identify an exemplary Other — in this case, Woman. Neither, however, am I entirely abandoning the feminine but making it more open and hospitable to something other than itself. As I have said in this chapter's " 'Methodological ' Notes," my differential structures play on two interconnected levels, which in the "Introduction" to the present study were explained as the double bind or bifocal writing. On the one hand, these structures are related in a min imal sense with a feminine corporeality and are therefore a figure of the feminine. On the other hand, they exceed this feminine specificity, or make it disappear, and are therefore this specificity's impossibility or figurelessness. On this second level, they step around the feminine because they denote effects of difference. This practice informs what I have called excessive feminism or a feminism of the with-out (which is simultaneously associated with, and moves beyond, the feminine). To return to the puppet, employed to designate such an effect of difference or figurelessness, I retain a trace, only a trace, of the feminine in this puppet, as etymologically both the words marionette and puppet relate to Woman, pubis, pupa, doll and gir l , poverty, etc: "the puppet may be seen . . . as diminutive and t r iv ia l , a mere doll or plaything" (Shershow, 1995, 23). One must not forget, however: 1) the wooden materiality of the puppet; 2) its manipulation through strings and 3) its cultural value as a metaphor of a hierarchy of masters and servants: "the servant (who is literally mastered by 'authority') is, by the momentum of this associative structure, construed as figurally inanimate (passive matter available for authoritative form)" (Shershow, 1995, 77). This cultural value invested in the puppet was already there for Plato, who "compares man to a marionette, manipulated by the hand of the gods according to their passions. Aristotle imagines the God of the Universe to be just like a puppeteer who moves men as though they were puppets" (Simmer, 1975, 35). 70 How can these three significations of the puppet serve my critique of Bellessi's grounding allocentric category, that is, the figure of Woman? I wi l l start from the third signification, moving my way back to the first. Bellessi's poetry, whether inadvertently or not, creates a violent hierarchy in the name of its feminine eroics. Woman (and particularly the mother, as we shall see) comes above all else. In this and in most of Eroica's poems, "Woman" appears as a unique and most urgent Other: where is the lesbian, the child, the man, the poor, the non-human, the polit ical prisoner, etc.? They are eclipsed and totally disappeared, effaced under the singular name-face of Woman. The exemplary female Other has expelled them and driven them out of "her" paradigmatic space, and therefore they become the figureless other, the ghcest or the ghosts of Bellessi's discourse. Bellessi's Woman is the master of alterity: "she" encompasses and represses all others. Similarly, Sexual Difference is what masters al l other difference in general. Bellessi's female Other dreams of elevating "herself" from the position of the servant (the marginalized, the excluded) to that of the master, from the position of the puppet to that of the puppeteer. This dream resembles that of a tyrant erected above all else, in whose sovereign hands others become puppets, disappear or die, are scarred, defaced and tortured, become instruments of "util i ty . . . and . . . docility . . . of submission" (Foucault, 1995, 25) and ultimately face death. Bellessi's supposed feminism risks becoming any -ism's dream of dominance in the name or in favour of a singular essentialist category of "Other." The exclusive feminine is made to behave like a M a n , a "dictator," a "despot," that is, it behaves exactly like the masculinism that had effected the repudiation and displacement of Woman in the first place. One could object that Bellessi is employing a feminist strategy that attempts to undo Woman's marginalization by making her self-consciously imitate M a n . I do not deny the feminist goals of such a strategy to destabilize the displacement of the feminine, but find its polit ical effectiveness, its implications and consequences, prob-lematic. Judi th Butler cautions us that our feminist "strategies always have meanings that exceed the purposes for which they are intended. In this case, exclusion itself might qual-ify as such an unintended yet consequential meaning" (Butler, 1990, 5). Thus, Bellessi's strategy ends up marginalizing Woman once more, for it re-affirms all the phallocentric structures that many feminists have critiqued as recognizing the primacy of M a n and the 71 reduction of Woman to a phallic aberration. Indeed, Bellessi re-asserts what Elizabeth Grosz describes as phallocentrism: "the use of one model of subjectivity, the male, by which all others are positively or negatively defined. Others are constructed as variations of this singular type of subject. They are thus reduced to or defined only by terms chosen by and appropriate for masculinity" (Grosz, 1989, 105). Irigaray has argued (and I agree with her) that the feminine is constructed as lack, a subservient Other defined in terms of M a n and perpetuating a /lomme-sexual culture: "[t]he 'feminine' is . . . described in terms of deficiency . . . as the other side of the sex that alone holds a monopoly on value: the male sex" (Irigaray, 1985b, 69). Rather than being radically heterogeneous to both M a n and phallocentrism, Bellessi's Woman becomes the Other side of the male sex — or in Spi-vak's words — "an Other that would consolidate" (Spivak, 1994a, 88) the selfsameness of M a n or the primacy of "his" sex and subject status. Bellessi's female "subject" (or Other) seems able to assert herself only by imitat ing a masculine subject/model or emphasizing a "femininity" defined in relation to that model. To return to the wooden materiality of the puppet, the fact that a marionette is ma-nipulated through strings is significant. A puppet, as a manipulated object, symbolizes instrumentality. Judi th Butler, tracing the etymology of the Greek word "hyle" for matter, writes that hyle "is wood that already has been cut from trees, instrumentalized and in-strumentalizable, artifactual, on the way to being put to use" (Butler, 1993, 32). It must be noted that the concept of the "female Other" (or "Woman") becomes itself instrumental-ized, and the feminine becomes a manipulable puppet in the hands of Bellessi's "feminism" or any (ph)allocentric discourse (and as we saw in the hands of M a n and phallocentrism) that seeks to recover and domesticate i t . In this sense, the category of Woman becomes once more a matter of surplus conceptual value, by which Bellessi's "feminism" (and by extension, phallocentrism) narcissistically perpetuates and recognizes itself in its mirroring object, subject or figure(ine): the Woman, a body or matter that matters, returns such an essentialist "feminism" (and Man) to its selfsame. But , as Butler argues: " ' ident i ty ' as a point of departure can never hold as the solidifying ground of a feminist poli t ical movement" (Butler, 1992, 15). The dream of such a "feminism" is to instrumentalize the other, represented by the exem-72 plary face of Woman, assuming that one is capable of pulling the strings of alterity which, in my view, can never be attached to anything or anyone at a l l , and cannot therefore be-come the submissive instrument appropriated by any discourse. Contrary to this so-called feminist gesture or (ph)allocentric dream, only identity can be pinned down, attached to someone or something. A n d this is why "identity," and the category of "Woman" "cannot be the solidifying ground of a feminist poli t ical movement." Identity politics ensures the downfall of such a movement. Only identity (the identity Woman, for example) can have strings attached that can be manipulated and domesticated. The other is not manipulable because it is absolutely heterogeneous and figureless. If feminism is to safeguard woman, it must resist subjecting and attaching her otherness to any (obvious or well-disguised) iden-tity politics. It must avoid converting woman into the Other side of M a n , "an Other that would consolidate" Man's selfsame. Hyperfeminism must always keep "woman" unidenti-fiable, figureless and other: it must keep her deferred, capable of evading all projects of homogeneity, and even be the disordering and disappearance of the homogeneous/Ziomme-geneous. Dcedalus It is this figurelessness that appears to haunt this poem by Bellessi (poem, pp. 81-84), its exemplary Woman and its allegedly feminine eroics. This harrowing and ghastly figureless-ness can be seen at work in this poem that writes about a poem (a "poetic composition"), as if it were writ ing about and doubling itself, in a phantasmatic act of replica-tion. The poem speaks about itself, or rather echoes itself, through the figure of another poem to which it alludes. The poem speaks about itself, through a persona (the function of "papel" or theatrical role), a dummy, an "impersonation." Like "a dancer [who] lifts . . . / [his] face / behind a mask" (81), Bellessi's poem is its own mask, its own replica-tion into a poetic "[cjomposicion . . . [que] salta / . . . / rostro muerto" ("[composition . . . [that] leaps / . . . / dead face" [83]). Whether the poem is like a l imb, a dead face, a phantasm, a mask or its own echo, the poem's identity becomes refracted into its dead and substanceless figure (just as puppets are associated with the lifeless), into something else that leaps like uncanny feet that dance by themselves. 73 The labyrinthine effects of refraction, replica-tion and figuration run through this poem as its double, its shadow, or its figure. Through the metaphor of the "dead-alive" and leaping poetic composition the poem recalls Daedalus, the god of graphics 8 and glyphics whose name is also a synonym for labyrinth. The dexterous Daedalus was renowned for his shrewedness, craft and cunning in building Knossos's labyrinth, whose key is held by Ariadne. Daedalus is also a "cave . . . cavern or crypt . . . the knot in binding and loosing . . . entrails and the bowels of earth" (Cooper, 1978, 93). Furthermore, it seems that Daedalus is the god of figurines and puppets, called in Greek XOANA. Elaine Scary reminds us that Daedalus was associated with limbs as well . . . [He] made arms and legs and attached them to xoana, "the shapeless primitive statues of the gods" . . . [A]s Socrates reminds us, [he] ma[d]e statues famed for looking so alive they seemed to observers to move. He supplemented human arms with powerful wings in order to enable the escape from the labyrinth; and the other tools he invented, such as axe and saw are also prosthetic transformations of human limbs. (Scarry, 1994, 94) What is fascinating about this mythical creature is that in Western representations Dae-dalus comes to represent an array of crafts: puppetry, sculpture, weaving (knotting) and writing, and the materials of wood and thread (HYLE and HILO). He becomes a god of dead-alive statues, of inscribing and sculpting tools, either an a*-^e or a pen, perhaps a spinning shuttle "de la hierba" ("of cotton grass," Bellessi, 83) that inadvertently writes and scars and weaves and refracts and replica-tes Bellessi's poem and bifurcates it, like Borges's labyrinthine house of Asterion, into infinite galleries, illusions and mirages, endless scenes, personae and shadows that generate others, never allowing the poem to return to, and recover, itself. Daedalus makes this poem figureless. Bellessi's text speaks about itself; it is a poem about a poem and a poet, a Woman poet of eroics. Bellessi, the poet, writes of a poet-subject as a double actor, a puppet, a "subject out of joint," to recall Zizek, which describes and is in turn inscribed, sculpted and scarred as if with an a ? t e . In the following lines, note how the sentence "dentro de m i " ("inside me") makes the poem and the poet ("el poema" and "la poeta") be seen from the inside exactly as if they were both cavernous Daedaloi or crypts; as if both poem and poet were graves or en-graved in their sollipsistic auto-contemplation; selves reflecting upon themselves and therefore entombed alive in themselves: "Protagonista doble / describo / 74 para que escriba / dentro de m i " ("Twice a protagonist / I describe / so that "he" ["it"] writes / inside me" [83]). The self is its own tomb, a cave or a sculptured grave inside which the self disappears like un desaparecido, like a missing person. Hy(i)lographics or hy(i)loglyphics is this self-disappearance, the burial of oneself in oneself. Bellessi's poetic composition writes about itself and doubles itself in the face of its own replica, namely, the poetic composition to which the poem I have been commenting on alludes: "Composicion / . . . / ella salta / Joy erf a / mimiscula / de la hierba" ("Compo-sition / . . . / it "["she"] leaps / miniscule / jewelery / of cotton grass" [82]). The text (as well as the poetic subject) constitutes itself by being labyrinthically ramified into its own replica, into its impersonation. The text is stone-dead, a figure, a statue "a ghostly, harrowing thing" (Gross, 1992, 19). The word impersonation is not chosen accidentally. Bellessi's poem flirts with puppet histrionics, with personas, faces, masks, "rostros," fig-ures, dummies, statues and the ghcest in general, to the point that it becomes one itself. This is true to such an extent that the status of Bellessi's text is indeed like the status of a statue — to paraphrase de Man's question: "Is the status of a text like the status of a statue?" (de M a n , 1984, 95). Eroic poem and poet are the figureheads of something or someone else, for one can be exclusively and exemplarily oneself only as other, as a puppet or as a dummy. Whether it is Woman or her feminine poetics-eroics, that which poses itself ontologically as such and positions itself above all others can only stand — for the Greeks being is that which stands upright, erect (Derrida, 1978d, 184) — as a double, a ghost or a statue. As explained in the "Introduction" to this discussion, the exemplum is the ghcestly double retained in the uncanny replication of hetaerography's and Daedalus's diphthong 38. Bellessi's poem is populated by masks: "Tienta / . . . como alza un bailarin / con infinita gracia / su rostro / tras una mascara" ("It tempts and touches / . . . like a dancer [who] lifts with infinite grace / [his] face / behind a mask" [81]). The poem is haunted by shadows and dreams: "Tienta / la textura en sombra / donde el sueno nace" ("It tempts and touches / the shadowy texture / where the dream is born" [81]).9 It is a text within a text, a textile or a puppet play of interminable scenes always recalling another. It is a text that itself points to another text: "Cada escena / genera otra / ^Aisladas / sobre 75 un retablo / interminable?" ("Each scene / generates another / Isolated on an endless / retableV [82]). There is no one-word English equivalent for the Spanish "retablo," which, as I have mentioned before, means altarpiece, reredos, but also puppet play and display. I retain this polyvalent semantics by rendering the Spanish "retablo" as retable in quotation marks, alluding to al l the significations of that specific word simultaneously. This poem, as well as the next one I shall discuss, is also a retable. It is an altar to the missing, to those others that Woman as an exemplary Other implic i t ly disappears from her paradigmatic space. The poem is a grave monument replete with ornaments, metaphoric animals, a bird-like or beaked fish, a frog: "Pico / Bagre / de panza plateada," and " E l l a salta / . . . / £,rana?" ("Beak / a silver belly / catfish," and "It ["she"] leaps / . . . / a frog?", 82 and 83, respectively). The poetic composition — both the one to which the poem refers and the poem one reads — is presented as, or scattered with, toys, copies, paintings: "miniatura / . . . en mi mano" ("miniature / . . . in my hand" [83]). W i t h i n a mirror-like and deceptive duplicity of marionette histrionics the poet-subject is no longer the puppeteer or the master consciousness whose author-ity controls the strings and masters "her" text, "her" product, "her" so-called feminine poetry or writ ing. The Woman-poet-subject can no longer say, as the puppet-master Leatherhead said of his marionettes: "I am the mouth of 'em a l l " (cited by Garber, 1997, 40) — "I am the mouth of my text." Like the poem, the poet becomes herself double and impersonated, ventriloquized. The poet is herself a dummy, a puppet on a "retable." She is "feet that dance by themselves:" "Protagonista doble / describo / para que escriba / dentro de m i ("Twice a protagonist / I describe / So that "he" ["it"] writes / inside me" [82]). The author writes and is written, inscribed, indeed carved (another of the meanings of Daedalus's name) like a wooden puppet (hyle), like a stone statue. She is the master becoming a puppet, a servant, an instrument, an organ. The transformation of the master-poet-Subject into a figurine, into "feet that dance by themselves," seems to reverse the Western ontotheological hierarchy whereby the puppet serves as "a discursive site where the metaphysical oppositions of truth and image, presence and representation, intersect with the social and cultural oppositions of high and low . . . master and servant" (Shershow, 76 1995, 15). It is a self-present Woman, the Other Subject, who in Eroics seems to believe she can undo her previous marginalization by claiming her own proper poetry, feminine writing, a unique and uni-vocal mouth that speaks of and above a l l , that now becomes repeated, replica-ted, and mastered. I have not yet dwelt upon specific indications in this poem of this hierarchy of feminine exemplarism in relation to the claim to a proper means of expression called feminine writ-ing, but I wi l l discuss them soon. There is, however, a clarification pending in relation to the female-poet-Subject whom I read as a mastered marionette "out of joint." One might find it provocative that from its masterful position the female Other descends into a lower position, becoming a puppet, an instrument, an organ. The reader might protest indig-nantly that I subject "Woman" to the same representations and marginalization "she" has suffered under patriarchy, but one must consider the following. In the first place I want to indicate that the term "partriarchy" remains unclear to me, at least as a presumably coherent field of domination over pathetically powerless victims that are usually and ex-clusively women — why only women? The term "patriarchy" seems to be one of those essentialist and universalized categories that, as Chandra Talpade Mohanty suggests: structure the world in ultimately binary, dichotomous terms, where women are always seen in opposition to men, [and] patriarchy is always necessarily male dominance . . . Thus, both men and women are always seen as preconstituted whole populations, and relations of dominance and exploitation are also posited in terms of whole peoples — wholes coming into exploitative relations. It is only when men and women are seen as different categories or groups possessing different already constituted categories of experience, cognition and interests as groups that such a simplistic dichotomy is possible. (Mohanty, 1994, 212). I wi l l repeat Mohanty's wise words to further claim that patriarchy is a concept that "structures the world in ultimately binary, dichotomous terms, where women are" always preconstituted as powerless victims and men as powerful masters. This logic of the term "patriarchy" that codes women as the powerless group in a sense repeats the phallocratic myth that women are the weak and impotent sex. It is detrimental for both feminism and feminist activism because it is a vicious circle of logic: if women are defined essentially as the exploited, or the dominated, then it is impossible for them — according to this definition — to undo or escape their oppression. This definition has women perpetually under domination or under patriarchy — so to speak — and man is always defined as their 77 master. It is true, however, that Bellessi — moving sti l l wi thin dichotomic terms, within an alleged feminism defined by Isazi as mujerismo — wants to lift Woman from the position of the powerless to that of the powerful. Woman or the feminine becomes for Bellessi an essentialist category of exemplary mastery. In my reading of the "she" as inscribed or carved with Deedalus's a^te, like a puppet, it is not women this reading is attacking, but the essentialism or hegemonic exemplarism that masters "woman," or makes Woman into a dominant figure. M y analysis does not take issue with feminism per se and its goals, but with a feminism oriented towards identity politics that wants to reduce woman into something that is no longer other, but looks more like a matriarch or a patriarch, an Author-i ty or a God-like Subject. Ult imately, as it is formulated by Butler , my reading asks these questions: "[W]hat poli t ical possibilities are the consequence of a radical critique of the categories of identity? What new shape of politics emerges when identity as a common ground no longer constrains the discourse on feminist politics?" (Butler, 1990, ix) . The scar of Daedalus — the fact that the Bellessian Woman is replica-ted or refracted, or becomes less than her masterful self, for instance — is inflicted upon the master in general. The wound is inflicted upon the master, any master whatsoever, whether one thinks of h im/her in terms of what mujerista feminism calls the patriarchical phallus, or what I call such a phallus's variation and disguise, a (ph)Allos, a pseudo-Other that masters all else. Equally traumatic and deadly to any form of author-ity and domination, Daedalus inscribes and injures with his pen or a^te any form of exemplarism, prevalence and despotism, any form of author-itative regime. The injury of the a?te constitutes and makes impossible any archy in the sense of the Greek meaning of the word archy as power, ruling, hegemony, sovereignty, state (status), etc. This clarification anticipates my critique of feminine exemplarism in Bellessi's Argentinian letters of eroics in conjunction with polit ical despotism in Argentina. Let us return to the poem that writes upon and about itself, and the poet who acts ("pro-tagonista") like a puppet, and describes and is acted/written upon: the author becomes a plaything, the figure of the poem, a figurine. This is a relation between puppets and strings. Both these words must be thought of here hetaerographically, or as altered, as the 78 structure of hy(i)lography which describes effects of alteration such as disappearance, re-fraction, replication, echoing, figuration. Hy(i)lography is the vanishing, the im-possibility of eroic poem and poet. B y reflecting upon themselves, both the poem and the poet become in two differenct senses subject and subject, master and servant, puppeteer and puppet. The poet-subject discusses "herself," is "her" subject, is one of "her" themes. Evoking once more Butler 's etymology of hyle (matter), it can be said that the poet's in-strumentalizable matter is "herself." The poet also controls and holds the hilos, or strings, of "herself." Poet and poem represent, and reflect upon, themselves as if speculating upon the possibility of their very presence, the possibility of their own identity, as if the events "poet" and "poem" were here in question or were at issue. Rather than knowing "who" they are or if they are anyone or anything at all (for example, if they are the sexual de-terminations "feminine," "Woman," "eroic-Other-subject," etc.), poet and poem are sti l l figuring their identity out. They become themselves their subject in question; they become themselves the figure, the marionette other. If one were to replace Derrida's "the book" with Bellessi's "poet" and "poem," the following citation from Derrida's "Edmond Jabes" describes eloquently the fact that Bellessi's "feminine" becomes simultaneously a subject and a subject(ed), a master and a puppet, in doubt and in need of figuring itself out. This is true with al l forms of self-reflection: The poet is .. . the subject of the book, its substance and its master, its servant and its theme. And the book is indeed the subject of the poet, the speaking and knowing being who in the book writes on the book. This movement through which the book, articulated by the voice of the poet, is folded and bound to itself, the movement through which the book becomes a subject in itself and for itself, is not critical and speculative reflection, but is, first of all, poetry and history. For in its representation of itself the subject is shattered and opened. Writing is itself written, but also ruined, made into an abyss, in its own representation. Thus, within this book, which infinitely reflects itself and which develops as a painful questioning of its own possibility, the form of the book represents itself . . . (Derrida, 1978a, 65). Of Feminine Writing and Other Ruins Hy(i)lographics or hy(i)loglyphics is writ ing in ruins, like a grave, a stone-dead "city con-structed over buried, more archaic layers of ruins and mutilated fragments.' (Gross in a different context, 1992, 35). In another poem in Eroics, Bellessi writes of a text as an assemblage of amputated statues: " E l texto / el cuerpo . . . / . . . / . . . elige / la sutileza de la piedra / . . . Torsos oceanicos / colas nalgas de pez y de sirena / los pechos / . . . 79 / particulas" ("The text / the body . . . / . . . / . . . chooses / the subtlety of the stone / . . . Oceanic torsos / tails, buttocks of fish and of mermaid / breasts / particles" [23]). Wri t ing is petrified and petrifying. It is death itself. The image of writ ing as death, like that of lifeless statues and inanimate puppets, recalls an entire phonologocentric Western tradition privileging the spoken word and grounded in the idea that writing, in contrast to l iving speech, is the dead letter that kil ls . This is a "cadaverous . . . writ ing [that in Plato] had held up the l iving spoken word" (Derrida, 1981, 79). The image of the mermaid, in a Freudian context, reinforces another value accorded to stone-dead or petrifying writ ing. This time, writing is the statue of the Gorgon. In popular modern Greek culture, the Gor-gon is not the horrifying Medusa, but a mermaid (Gorgona in Greek). The ancient Greeks, however, gave the Gorgon's face "to everything that was alien or other, everything chaotic and destructive, especially those violences and harmonies that disrupted what Greek cul-ture tried to define as the domain of the human . . . The face of the Gorgon was also the face of the dead, the face of . . . a ghost . . . a mask, a daemonic dead-alive fragment" (Gross, 1992, 24). Figurelessness returns to haunt Bellessi's poetry as a violent writing of ruins, amputa-tion, disfigurement, death, ghosts. This violent glyptics is the figureless otherness (just as i n Derrida, "writing" stands for difference/differance), an unrecognizable phantasm that comes as one's own death, as one's own defacement or self-effacement; or as Druci l la Cor-nell might say, connecting Derrida's figureless cinders and ashes with "woman," that it comes as essencelessness and remains: "[i]f she remains other, she remains . . . The vul-nerable tenderness of the Cinder can be heeded as the trace that points beyond itself" (Cornell , 1997, 198-9). Unidentified and disappeared, the self is a dancer of death behind a mask, and consequently the other is the effect by which a self is always an unidentified disappeared. The other is the dance of death and of missing. The other is the relation of oneself to oneself as being missing, as being a ghost or a ghcest. In this sense, I understand hy(i)lographics-glyphics as this absolute, not-yet other that can be determined neither ex-emplarily as Bellessi's Woman nor as "this Woman's" proper means of expression, whether it is writing or weaving. F£y(i)lographics is the other as Woman's self-inscription, "her" self-disfiguration, or as Woman in ruins. Woman is the remains. She is "woman"-remains 80 that point beyond herself. But there is also a trace of the essence Woman that remains like the "trace of otherness, that always remains beyond" (Cornell , 1997, 199). What I mean by that phrase is that although hy(i)lography is the very disappearance of Bellessi's Woman, there is st i l l a thread (hilo), or a trace of "her" that remains in hy(i)lography. But hy(i)lographics would also be the erasure of Woman's proper writ ing, sex, name, or face. It would be the "erasure or effacement of a face" (de M a n , 1984, 100), the deformation and disappearance of any sexual marks that would determine one essential and unique Woman, or M a n , or anything at a l l . Hy(i)lography would be other than the exemplary female Other (other than man, human, etc.), other than the feminine, and other than ecriture feminine. In what follows I shall attempt to answer these questions: W h y is feminine writing at issue here? W h y is hy(i)lography constructed so as to exceed such a feminine writing? How does Bellessi treat, or rather exalt, the exemplary theme of an eroic ecriture feminine in her poetry? Hy(i)lography as Trauma Before I deal with these questions, however, I must open a parenthesis to explain why I have resorted to speaking of hy(i)lography as the category "Woman" defaced or "Woman" in ruins. The tactics here are twofold: 1) First this approach refuses to perpetuate the essentialism of an identifiable Woman ((ph)allocentrism), an other that one has first tamed and determined as such in order subsequently to master, instrumentalize, subject and appropriate "her" as a pitiful and pathetic object-puppet in need of a superior subject, in need of a saviour to undertake the mission of liberating her. As Derrida contends, we need to "liberate ourselves from that very ' l iberation' " (Derrida, 1995h, 163). This so-called liberation is ultimately nothing but the mastery and submission of the other. It is a pseudo-emancipation, the subordination of the other (of woman as the other that must always escape us), to all -isms and ( p a t r i -archies which love to identify and know the other in order to manipulate "her" like a puppet, batter "her", bruise "her", scar "her" face, disfigure and bash "her", treat "her" like a malleable object or like shit. A n d this is because, as I wi l l not cease to repeat, only identity (the identifiable Other, or Woman recognizable as such) can be scarred. The 81 other, by constrast, is the scar and disappearance of all identity and mastery. The dynamic of the above (ph)allocentric or mujerista "liberation" of woman is the game of masters and servants, one that in its own way tames and injures, takes by violence, or inflicts epistemic violence (by representing and knowing the other as an identity), rapes and possesses, handles with hands holding strings or distributing fists. As Spivak might say, to recognize the other is to assimilate "her" (Spivak, 1994a, 89). I shall add that to give a face to the other is to be able to have access to it and appropriate it like the possessive hand of a sovereign (subject or not) that reaches out to instrumentalize and brutalize his or her victims. A n d that is all done in the name of the other's "liberation," a well-known myth that so many fathers, dictators, mothers or tyrants — whether in the context of Lat in America's fascist regimes or in the context of pseudo-feminist and any -ist agendas — have put to work: "liberation" equals violence, death, torture, imperialism, disappearance and annihilation. I am not critiquing here a movement called "women's liberation" or anti-sexist, anti-racist or anti-fascist movements. Rather, I am critical of the discourse on liberation and the superior subject(s) behind it claiming to emancipate powerless women and victims. In "Can the Subaltern Speak?" Spivak is also