- Revivals: Of Antigone by William Robert
Albany: SUNY Press, 2015, 124 pp.
Antigone Notgone, Our Darker Sister—Bloodier Than Before, Milkier Than Ever
This ends today [. . .] I can't breathe, I can't breathe . . .—Eric Garner, "This Ends Today" (Kreps 2015)
I posthume as I breathe . . .
Jacques Derrida—William Robert, Trials: Of Antigone and Jesus
Antigone remains bloody. She remains only blood-y, never milk-y.
She is not doubly fluid. She is a one-fluid woman.—William Robert, Revivals: Of Antigone (9)
Her, Not Done, Not Gone—Still Not Re(a)d Enough?
"I am not done with her. Or she is not done with me—with us" (xi), says he, openingly.
As your mother would say, "done is for meat. Antigone is not finished," period; a period to which we shall return shortly, have to. For now, what and all we mean is this, that:
She, it seems, returns like the repressed, as powerfully and as predictably. She perdures and endures, insists and persists. After nearly 2,500 years, she [End Page 369] keeps coming back, or we keep coming back to her, each time with a new question. She persists as a question, one that insists, calls for response. [. . .] Antigone insists and persists—and resists closure. She is not an answer. She is a question. She remains in question.(xi)
True, not unlike a period, a question of the month for some, something about Antigone becomes a question in itself, remaining questionable even. What's this, bloody womanly thing—or, as one might end up asking at a certain point in her life, what was that about?
Indeed, what's up with this Anti-gone in deed?
Antigone flows differently. Her blood flows differently. It overflows kinship, and nature-culture with it.
Antigone is not a mother. Her name, anti-gonē, means "anti-generation," "anti-production," "anti-offspring," "anti-birth." This translation renders Antigone anti. [. . .] On hommohumanism's terms, Antigone is only what she is not. She is only opposing (7).
"She is only opposing" intransitively, intransigently. She turns into, as if returning to, a(n auto-)position without an opposition, an irreducible position capable of producing a meta-contra-body that is not "one" but many, and not just many but many ones, so to speak.
I, too, get that.
To re-view then, in some detail: what are we to make of Antigone's "polyzoontic(ity) [. . .] this polygraphic operation she performs" (xii), which in turn perfumes her body from inside and outside "the cave," the cell, the closet, the cloister, Platonic or Sophoclean or Christian or just broadly spiritual? What is, really, in that box that is not a box or cannot be boxed, literal and metaphorical, from which she emerges, just as one does, and to which she returns, just as one will? If "Antigone is not a mother. She is an other. She is not an 'other of the same.' She is an other other" (xv). See: "she resists a systematic, sublimating consignment to nourishing hommosexuality. Her sexual difference flows differently" (7).
Such is the question, the quest in Revivals that elegantly revitalizes Antigone's legacy, this refusenik's generic polyness or herselvesness including herselfishness ("polymorphous, phasic, -semic, -sexual, -valent," etc., in alphabetical order, xii), which is in any case neither uni- nor mono-. Having gone through the Trials: Of Antigone and Jesus (Robert 2010) on the mytho-religious "trials of the impossible" (Robert 2010, 20) as an embodied experience, this time, William Robert focuses on the figurative spatio-temporality, especially open-ended genealogy, of this performative aporia, "being in love with the impossible" (Robert 2010, 20) (Isemene's verbal shot at her sister), zeroing in on its metonymically alter-native future-anteriority, its threefold Antigoneity, viz., "Antigone the Animal," "Antigone the Angel," and "Antigone the Future," all in syncopation if not Harmonia (the foremother of Thebes, with Cadmus). [End Page 370]
[. . .] paying particular attention to embodiment: body as locus of humanity [. . .] recognizing corporeality as so vitally pivotal...