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Three case studies show a consistent preoccupation with a similar formal problem within different areas of inquiry. The problem is the relation of inside to outside. The areas are genre criticism, speech act theory, and sovereignty theory. Genre, an external feature of a text, is a topic discussed within Latin poetry. Poets can assert their poetry's power in the world only through poetry. The sovereign, who is subject to the law, also lies outside it in his ability to suspend it. In each case, the power to determine reality and the power to represent it are in competition. The personal voice in this paper responds to Lowell Edmunds' questions about methodology.