Just when I thought I couldn’t stand it
another minute longer, Friday came.
(Accounts of that have everything all wrong.)
Friday was nice.
Friday was nice, and we were friends.
—Elizabeth Bishop, “Crusoe in England”
Poems like “An Octopus,” about a glacier, or “Peter,” about a cat, or “Marriage,”
about marriage, struck me, as they still do, as miracles of language and construc-
tion.—Elizabeth Bishop, “Efforts of Affection”
One underlying implication of this book concerns the historic speciﬁcity
of various forms of incitement to identiﬁcation, which is perhaps a less pe-
jorative term than subjection. Throughout this volume I have described
the ways in which particular versions of intersubjective relations, namely
those between mothers and daughters, become, through shifts in the orga-
nization of space, models for female-female intersubjective relations more
generally. These models are then promulgated through the use of com-
modity forms such as the serial novel, the handbook, and the accessories
of identity that a movement such as the Girl Scouts creates and distributes.
Literally then, commodity capitalism helps to promulgate particular mod-
els of subject formation through marketing particular commodities.
But I am also arguing something more theoretical about the relation of
identiﬁcation/desire and capitalism. Judith Butler has been criticized for