Morgan Wortham, Simon (2016) Fleeced. Paragraph, 39(2), pp. 149-164. ISSN (print) 0264-8334


This essay reads the Genet column of Glas in terms of the deconstructibility of ‘the deciding discourse of castration’, as Derrida puts it. Here, the fleece that Genet imagines Harcamone wearing in The Miracle of the Rose takes centre stage, as much as Genet’s flowers. The fleece is both garb and pelt, at once a talismanic scalp, a part that has been brutally cut away, and a covering used to shield or shelter what is vulnerable or exposed. It is both something stolen, and a protective barrier against loss. To get ‘fleeced’ already carries a double and ambiguous set of possible meanings, then, and Derrida puts it to work in the interests of a double-sexed deconstruction of castratability (a sort of theft beyond the possibility of theft). If the erection cannot ‘fall’ without re-elevating the entire edifice or column of that phallogocentrism of which castration would paradoxically form an uncastratable part, Derrida’s insertion of a deconstructive ‘hole in erection’ exposes to a powerfully deciphering and transformative reading just this tale of castration’s uncastratability. Taking up Derrida’s suggestion that the bi-columnar is in a certain sense uncastratable, the essay closes by reading into the Hegel column of Glas precisely this deconstructibility of a ‘deciding discourse of castration’, notably in terms of the Hegelian interpretation of Antigone’s politics.

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