This essay traces a line of connection among various historical uses of apostrophe—oratorical, poetic, and narratological. Despite appearances, these uses of apostrophe enclose a history of the knowing subject and a template for its attenuation that is relevant to twentieth- and twenty-first century thought, critiques of subjectivity, and critical theory. In this way I examine what residue of the history of subjectivity calls out to us from the figure of the apostrophe. The apostrophe, and perhaps many other figures besides, thus truly are as G. O. Hutchison describes: “like boxes waiting to be opened, full of [underinterpreted] significance.”

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