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13 Austl. Feminist L.J. 119 (1999)
Suturing the Narrative Body

handle is hein.journals/afemlj13 and id is 125 raw text is: SUTURING THE NARRATIVE BODY
Rebecca Scott Bray*
I want him, specifically his skin, because skin's the only thing that's available. But I've
had enough guys to know how little skin can explain about anyone. So I start getting
into this rage about how stingy skin is. I mean, skin's biggest reward, which is sperm, I
guess, is only great because it's a message from somewhere inside a great body. But it's
totally primitive ...
I'm pretty sure that if I tore some guy open I'd know him as well as anyone could,
because I'd have what he consists of right there in my hands, mouth wherever
Except there'd be a smell, which I guess would be strong and hard to take. I can't
imagine it. Maybe the odors of piss, shit, sweat, vomit, and sperm combined. I guess in
a perfect world I'd eat and drink all that stuff and not just get nauseous. That's my
dream. I
Consider now the plight of the pathologist. When the time for confronting the dead
arrives, he stands alone ... His task is squarely to confront the dead and, violating their
most intimate individuality, to collect the information with which truthful, testable
abstractions may be built ... he must dip his hands in blood and viscous secretions and
experience revolting sensations, nauseating odors, revolting sights. In the heroic era of
the science of pathology, devoted scientists thought nothing of tasting organ secretions.
As in the past, contemporary physicians must engage in the practices that Quevedo
ridiculed in his 'Dream of Death': they must 'ask piss what they don't know'... And as
if the urinal was going to speak to them in whispers, they approach it of their ears, till
their beards are bedewed by its moisture.2
How is the dead body perceived and constructed as a purveyor of information for law, for culture?
This article is interested in the narratives mapped onto the body, marking it as a repository of knowledge,
Rebecca Scott Bray is currently studying for her Ph.D in the Department of Criminology, University of Melbourne.Thanks
to the Journal's anonymous reviewer, and to Alison Young, for her insightful comments on drafts of this paper, and for her
continued encouragement.
Dennis Cooper, Frisk, NewYork: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, 53-54.
2   F Gonzalez-Crussi, Notes of an Anatomist, San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985, 65-66.

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