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Derrida also uses internal voices at various places in Politics. A further parallel is that the oppositionalist voice reveals biographical information about the author. Increasingly common in modernity is having some citizenship that does not answer to the particular configuration of power in which one finds oneself. The figure of the hospes , who mediates between friend and foe in Monolingualism and is addressed in the first line of poem 4. Both Derrida and Propertius engage with political worlds where expanding states exercise power beyond their own boundaries and over people who are not or at least were not originally their own citizens.


Each to that extent raises the larger question not just of what it means in their own cases to be Umbrian or Roman, Maghrebian, Algerian, or French, but more generally what it means to be whoever one is specifically under conditions of empire. Their multiple identities respond particularly to a variety of overlapping and conflicting configurations of power, but also present their own condition as paradigmatic section V below.

Features that might at first look as though they belong to one category, such as place names, can serve as shorthand for clusters of overlapping features that help shape identity in several different respects. Categories of identity function both on the level of content, i. His oratorical style indicates his level of education, intellectual allegiances, taste, and so on. I will focus as much on the formal processes of signification style, narratological choices as on the signified content, ideology with an eye to their interrelation. Although such mixing is not exclusive to empire — migration and trade similarly bring different peoples into contact — multiple or divided identities are endemic to imperial conditions.

The category of otherness, by virtue of its semantics, is only ever relational to some perceived center, whether the speaking subject in the case of subjectivity or Rome in political terms. This is the paradox pursued by Derrida, who situates himself both as a speaking subject and as an alienated other with respect to France. This technique is a means for giving expression to some of the different aspects of personal identity, particularly those aspects against which their subjectivity resists, and provides an icon of internal division within the self.

Although all subjectivity is divided in that the subject position requires a second person to define it, in both Propertius and Derrida, the multiplicity of voices speaking to one another additionally brings alternative national identities into interaction with one another. The structure of political identity here maps onto that of psychological subjectivity.

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Each author negotiates an identity within an imperial context where they occupy in different respects the position of both dominator and dominated. The complexity is magnified when the general, as in the case of Rome as well as modern empires, already entails multiplicity.

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Derrida aligns with the dominated as an Algerian Jew, but with the dominator as a speaker of French. Dominator and dominated are positions to be occupied rather than permanent states of being and the various voices in these texts struggle to obtain advantage for themselves. If identity is produced dialogically in relation to some other, difference does not merely strengthen the self, but challenges it to recognize the other within. But he furthermore gives quotations from the book of a friend and colleague, Abdelkebir Khatibi, a linguist and also Franco-Maghrebian Derrida imagines a conversation between himself and Khatibi in which he outlines his own unusual situation of being both Maghrebian and a French citizen by birth If lines are the speech of Apollo, the god of prophecy and poetic programs alike, the most conventional elegiac program is a citation within a citation.

It is not clear who speaks the lines that proclaim a first person prophetic authority dicam , canam 4. We return below to their content, the announcement that Troy will fall and a Trojan Rome will rise again 4.

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Propertius goes formally beyond Derrida in making the voice of the other, that of Horos, the one to define Propertius according to criteria familiar from books , while his own voice announces a project at variance with himself as we know him. The familiar is externalized. Taken out of context , we could understand the phrase merely as a statement about the transfer of a poetic vision from Greece to Rome.

Both interrelations entail a Rome that has grown to encompass its neighbors further and further afield. These aspects all together add up to a multivalent identity that operates within the expansive context of empire, in which elements of a different order jumble together. I have assumed so far that Horos can be identified as eastern, but to pin down where he is actually from is difficult. But there are also overtones of the Egyptian Horos, the god of the sky.

This makes us wonder whether he is Babylonian or Greek and whether such a distinction would be meaningful. During this period Babylon was part of the Parthian empire and so much more not Roman than merely Greek would be. There was additionally an Egyptian Babylon, thought to be a locus for star science, 28 so even Babylon turns out not to be single.

The poem furthermore does not disambiguate between a personal and a professional genealogy. He emerges as generally eastern in many respects rather than having a well-defined specific identity. The contrast between contemporary golden temples and formerly earthen gods 5 intimates the conventional topos of decline, encoded by an emphasis on previous smallness , 14, 34 , poverty , or both , that are valorized. Many details of origin are originally from elsewhere.

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Aeneas is Phrygian 2 , Evander a refugee — at least his cows are profugae … boues , 4 , the Tiber is a foreigner aduena , 8. We cannot gloss over this anomaly by making an easy equation between the two. It would be a stretch to emphasize that Romans may not have sought foreign gods, instead they just came of their own volition — the nativist prejudice combines with a contrast between then and now with the implication that things have taken a turn for the worse. This feature is not only generically appropriate to elegy, but also highlights the interrelation between subject positions. His addressee is more a notional visitor than Aeneas, who goes on an actual walking tour.

This poem moves in its description faster from the Palatine to the Capitoline, to the Forum in between, and the Tiber beyond than one could walk, so that levels of story and narration are at odds. The addressee of the first line is left behind and Propertius closes his section of the poem with an enthusiastic embrace of a new poetic vision for himself as a poet who can tell us the aetological stories that serve an important function in national self-definition.

Vergil upends categories of ethnicity by blending into Rome manifold Italic and Mediterranean elements, but the break from Troy stands for success in establishing something recognizably Roman. Son here is alumnus , a foster child rather than a naturally born son. We could recognize all Romans as foster children who, like Romulus, have been brought up by notional wolves.

Nurture would surpass the bloodline so that identity would be determined by education, cultural choices and symbolic names rather than by breeding. But the better attested reading putet emphasizes the conventional notion of decline — the contemporary Roman has the mere name as opposed to the vibrant blood of his martial ancestors — as well as a lack of self-knowledge in a people who do not recognize their own origins. Whichever reading we choose, traces of the other remain and unsettle, so that the textual surface as transmitted raises questions of its own identity. As readers we must ask which is the native, which the intruder.

As Propertius says, Venus herself brought Caesar his arms Which Caesar hardly matters. The larger point is that Propertius turns out to be representative rather than or maybe because of being oppositionalist. Non-normative sexuality inhabits Roman power just as eastern elements do. All of the ways Propertius presents himself as an outsider from the corridors of power reinscribe him further within a Roman identity that is already fractured.

The hospes offers a blank that invites projection. While we might be tempted to identify the person addressed in the first line with Horos and to align the two figures in the second person, 36 there are no textual indications we are to do so. This figure is the abstract correlative to the cranky peculiarity of Horos — another instance of internal mirroring without direct correspondence. He cannot be from Rome or he would not need the introduction to the city. He is a generic other without particularity, the one over against whom, over against the idea of whom, self-definition takes place.

Derrida cites Benveniste several times in Monolingualisme for an analysis of the links between ipse , hospes , hostis , and a variety of words denoting capacity posse. This is what Propertius does when he presents his new personal and poetic identity as a Roman Callimachus, someone who can tell stories of origin in the search for national identity.

His addressee the hospes seems open to this gambit, at least until Horos begins to speak. He attempts to put the poet and his poetry back into a familiar and restricted box. Trying on his new poetic project will be painful and Horos threatens him with tears 73, Stop headstrong… Odes 3.

By staging the opposition as human and foreign, Propertius enacts a political scene.

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Without this knowledge, on which Schmitt insists, the political cannot exist according to his own definition. Suffice it to say in this reading of Propertius 4. Like the hospes , Horos does not seem to have any basic knowledge of Rome. In accord with his position as foreigner, the exemplum 4. But being non-Roman does not necessarily make him an enemy, and even if it did, the ambivalence over whether hospes means friend or enemy is replayed in Horos, but taken further. In addition to marking the second-person position, like the hospes , Horos not only speaks back, he intervenes.

The question Derrida traces in Schmitt progresses from who the enemy is to a matter less of identity as such than of recognition. One simply passes from being-enemy to the recognition of the enemy — that is, to his identification, but to an identification which will carry me to my identification, finally, myself, with the other, with the enemy whom I identify. In so far as I recognize him as my enemy, I recognize that he can put me in question.

This would seem to provide the needed criterion. But the problematic comes full circle. And who can effectively put me in question? Only myself. Or my brother. Both, for instance, apostrophize Troy 39, In trying to establish his authority on the basis of predictions about otherwise unknown persons, Horos repeats the name Lupercus from the first section of the poem.

Where Propertius links this name to the Fabii and the Lupercalia 26 , i. Each turns the name toward the poetics he avows. One has a very Roman name, but the other, called Gallus, could be either Roman or non-Roman. A number of possibilities come to mind. If he recalls Cornelius Gallus, he would be like Propertius in being an elegist, but we would then have to wonder about the success of his politics.

Each possibility involves some sort of check. Taken together, the possibilities interweave Roman imperialism, an elegiac figure who came to grief in the political realm while serving it, and castration, that is, precisely the territory of elegy turned toward exploring the interrelation of sexual and political identity under empire.

He is the one who reveals biographical information about the poet never articulated as clearly elsewhere. There are contrasts, however, in their respective representations. His avowal of generic insufficiency ei mihi, quod nostro est paruus in ore sonus! We can only wonder whether Apollo forbade Propertius access to the Forum as the god of poetry doing literature a favor — a divine sanction of his life choices — or whether as the patron god of the victory at Actium he indicates a political career cut short by historical circumstances, so that poetry emerges as second-best.

Unspoken is that he participates in the Augustan regime by accepting Maecenas as his patron. Undoubtedly the subjectivity of a subject, already, never decides anything: its identity in itself and its calculable permanence make every decision an accident which leaves the subject unchanged and indifferent. A theory of the subject is incapable of accounting for the slightest decision. The former implies an agency he suspects, while the latter can hardly be understood to be a decision. He cannot from his own subjectivity make a decision about changing the course of his poetics, because the decision cannot be made from the subject position.

The decision he announces does not correspond to his identity. It requires the alien within to articulate this identity, to reaffirm the psychosexual elegist he has always hitherto been, to make the decision for him or at least prevent him from making a decision counter to who he is. The dialogism in Monolingualism , where his own biography is foregrounded, maintains a clear subject position that aligns with himself as author. The internal speakers collaborate with one another. Furthermore, he also makes Schmitt speak , so that he is represented as answering objections put to him by Derrida he had not anticipated himself.

The political once again entails an exclusion. As mentioned above, he has lost his land and cannot speak in the Forum In addition, Horos blocks his speaking of overtly nationalistic topics within his poetry Although the writing of poetry creates in her categories a durable work and is to that extent part of the active life, it nevertheless falls short of action as the realm of the political.

If we accept the role of the intellectual as a viewer and commentator rather than an actor, the first half of poem 4. His poetry will serve the state hoc patriae seruiet omne meae , 60 not through oratory or the military, conventional activities of service, but by presenting the history of Roman culture to others.

But Propertius makes an additional move by revealing information about himself in the voice of someone who is in turn subject to a variety of exclusions. The intellectual may rank second to the politician, but can still wield cultural authority. The astrologer, however, sits lower on the totem pole and Horos is not a good one at that. Propertius consistently undermines his authority. On the one hand, important political figures made it respectable, mostly notably Augustus.

The triumviral period is also the obvious candidate for when Propertius lost his property and his qualification for normative public life. His rehearsal of his lineage means to back this vaunt up , an essentializing and reductive gesture. He cites his astrological knowledge and predictions that came true Horos is unreliable and his knowledge and predictions banal.

Both speakers end up with compromised authority, another intimate link between them. First the latter. Beyond the personal link, the ambivalence of dispossession of property and citizenship correspond to central features of Roman identity as represented in myth. Romans are notionally powerful and authoritative political players, but they also trace their lineage back to defeated Troy. Roman achievement comes in the wake of dispossession. Troy is not a univocal signifier and even in poem 4. This is a message about resilience in the face of defeat. Troy is to dry her tears But this would be to undervalue the generic function of the exclusions he shows himself to have undergone.

That is, he is a good love poet not because of his success at love, but because of his failure. The same holds for political poetry. Desire rather than success structures elegiac discourse. It is normally the ego which tries to limit the id, not the other way around. It is not clear that the desire to participate in the public world is any more or less instinctual than psychosexual desires, or that the limitation either applies to the other is more top-down. A better Lacanian analysis would locate the irruption of the Real here in the struggle between the voices as they fail to go in the same direction and attempt to limit each other.

I would submit that the deauthorization of Horos holds the place of the non-recuperable exclusion in the politics of empire. To this extent, he allegorizes the forces of empire. But he also reveals basic truths about contemporary society exemplified by both Propertius and himself. His powerlessness turns out to have a certain power after all, and to that extent he performs a comic function, to reestablish and justify the status quo. His particular identity is paradigmatic for a larger whole, not in conformity to a universal or in adhering to the norms of Romanness, but in the mechanics of its construction and in the way the particular relates to the collective.

This is how he reveals himself as Roman. No single person becomes emblematic of Roman identity in the Aeneid , which frames identity in national terms, via norms rather than through individual subjectivities. That she turns out to embody many Roman norms she initially flouts reveals not only the complexity of individual persons, but also chinks in the ideology. To come up with a picture of his own identity as an imperial citizen requires deciphering a mosaic that spans poems, collections, and genres.

No single poem provides a complete picture, which rather emerges from bits and pieces. Many of his experiences were common to the period, most specifically the land confiscations. That is, he can be paradigmatic for other singular individuals even when they do not share the same life experiences because the structure is the common element between them. That is, the example operates as a singularity that reveals a third common element about another singularity. In the Rhetoric 1. The singularity for poem 4.

The paradeigma does not subsume a singularity into an existing norm but rather produces its own norm through analogy. This general rule cannot be formulated a priori 24 , with the result that a singularity taken as an example produces new knowledge performatively. This means that performatively produced new knowledge stands in relation to what is already known without being identical to it.

Agamben stresses that every singularity relates to innumerable other singularities The paradeigma mediates between a phenomenon and its image, between an origin and the already existing. We can take both the identity Propertius constructs for himself and the poem in which he constructs it as paradigmatic. His emphasis on the subjectivity of an individual with all his own peculiarities adds a new element to the then current debate about the structure of identity construction.

It is not only his self that is paradigmatic to the Roman self in this period, but his poem that is paradigmatic for other poetry with similar concerns. Derrida makes the move in chapter 4 of Monolingualism of turning himself into an example. He universalizes his unique experience and in the process reveals that the idea of himself that he has been presenting is a simplification Let us sketch out a figure.

It will have only a vague resemblance to myself and to the kind of autobiographical anamnesis that always appears like the thing to do when one exposes oneself in the space of relation. Derrida goes on to speak of both a poetics and a politics of relation. Besides relation as narrative, i.

We can say something similar of Propertius. Everyone can say the same thing for themselves and of themselves. And what makes it more unbelievable is that they are alone in a genre which becomes in turn a universal example, thus interbreeding and accumulating the two logics, that of exemplarity and that of the host as hostage.

That is, does he see the identity he constructs in a dialogic relation with Horos as emblematic of Roman imperial conditions or as universal? My impression is that his generalization goes only so far and that if we want to make this interaction universal for psychoanalysis or our own globalized times, this is an operation we bring to bear on the text as readers. My sense is that Latin literature of this period is concerned with its own sociopolitical circumstances rather than with the human condition as such, but the ability of the singular to intimate the universal means that we cannot shut down an attempt at generalization made at the point of reception.

Yes, he impinges on his poetic liberty, but he does not ask a ransom in return for release. Nor does Propertius hold hostage a fictitious character under his artistic control. With injury, however, we find greater correspondence. Although the latter was a greater injury, it was temporary, while Propertius does not let us know he ever recovered his land — on balance a similarity. Furthermore, poem 4. Something bad is looming. I will leave this opening for someone more oriented toward psychoanalytic readings to pursue.

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But it is not only individuals who are exceptions to or resist the simplified norm. All the counter-terms also define the Roman, by negation or contrast, but also by inclusion. Although such internal contradictions inhabit identity defined under non-imperial circumstances as well, imperial conditions make frequent contact with other peoples under circumstances of inclusion, acculturation, domination, and appropriation fertile material for self-definition whether from the point of view of the dominant or dominated alike.

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