, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 388–399 | Cite as

In partus

Arthur Bahr Fragments and Assemblages: Forming Compilations of Medieval London. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2013, 296pp, $27.00. ISBN: 9780226269405 Christopher M. Roman Queering Richard Rolle: Mystical Theology and the Hermit in Fourteenth-Century England. New York, Palgrave MacMillan, 2017, ix+144pp, $69.99. ISBN: 9783319497747 Michelle M. Sauer Gender in Medieval Culture. London: Bloomsbury, 2015, 224pp, £23.99. ISBN: 9781441142627
  • Samantha Katz SealEmail author
Book Review Essay

We call partus birth and vice versa. Partus has an established etymology – past participle of parere, to produce, root of parturire, to labor bearing life. And then there is the shadow etymology, at least for the ears of an English speaker. Parturition, partus, rings with the sound of fragments, the homological echoes of parts and parting, the breaking of the body that happens at birth. Say instead disjunctus, if you want to be accurate in your Latin, say disvulsus, avulsus, if you want speak of division. Latin has many, many ways to destroy the bonds between object and object, matter and matter, text and text. But partus is the way we speak of the division between the self and the sense of wholeness, between the corpus and the corpus that it bears.

Partus, the ‘radical ordeal of the splitting of the subject,’ as Julia Kristeva termed it (Kristeva, 1996, 76), can be queered through its dissolutions. Elizabeth Freeman, in Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories, praises...


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© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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