The Neuter (or The Neutral) and The Site of Writing: Reading Blanchot, Barthes and Three Queer Poets (Schuyler, Cooper and Kitchell)
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The Neuter (or The Neutral) and The Site of Writing: reading Blanchot, Barthes and Three Queer Poets (James Schuyler, Dennis Cooper and Mike Kitchell) addresses the idea of the neutral that emerges from both Blanchot's and Barthes's work, in order to examine its various figurations as found in the work of three queer poets. This dissertation insists that the neutral is undefinable in its link to the idea of the other and the void, appearing only at the site of writing within the figures of the night, the impenetrable, silence, nuance, languor, sleep, effusion and others. In reading Blanchot and Barthes, this study questions writing itself, within the experience of the impersonal in the textual dimension that the neutral unfolds. This approach ultimately leads to the futility of language: a languor of writing in relation to the other and death. Within this futility, the question of writing turns towards the question of silence and the impossible experience of a non-site at the limit of language. Beginning with an interrogation of Blanchot's idea of the neuter, the first chapter discusses why the neuter is tied to the idea of the other night, désoeuvrement and the blind encounter with the absence of words within the text. The second chapter reads Blanchot's essays on Mallarmé and Rimbaud to address impersonality, fatigue and despair as a condition and experience of writing, in addition to the questions of the state of language, effacement of language and the absence of the book. The third chapter turns to Barthes's later work and his Collège de France lectures (1977-1978) on the Neutral in order to consider the neutral within the longing for both the other and utopia (or atopia), along with the ethical approach of baffling the doxa in the place of writing. Finally, the fourth chapter examines the work of three queer poets--James Schuyler, Dennis Cooper and Mike Kitchell--to consider the silent figures of the neutral carrying the poetic attitude of indolence, mourning and erotic effusion.