Spectral Presences and Absences in Anne Carson’s Antigonick


This paper investigates the ways that the visual and textual features of Anne Carson’s Antigonick present a particularly spectral reading of the body within Sophocles’ tragedy. Carson’s translation materially conjures spectral absences and presences in a way that establishes itself as a posterior physical monument to its ancient predecessor and furthermore captures the corporeal questions posed by Sophocles — such as, how might we conceptualise with the embodied aftermath of the sexual union of incestuous bodies? How are we to deal with the bodies which use themselves as weapons against the state and which violate both social and political codes? In a tragedy whose action pivots around the status of the body of a brother, the misplacement of the body of a sister, and whose crises stem from instances of the misplaced body parts of a father and mother, the presence and treatment of the bodies lurking about the text of Carson’s ghost world is central.