As we approach the end of this inquiry concerning the proliferation
of spectacular female vanishing that begins in the mid-nineteenth
century and continues to appear throughout the twentieth century,
we need to consider what kind of theory of vanishing we might begin
to articulate in the wake of such diverse appearances and disappear-
ances. Clearly, any theory of vanishing must necessarily also be an
ambivalent theory. The vanishing body hovers between the osten-
sibly more stable sites of absence and presence, fundamentally dis-
rupting the security and limits of both of these terms in useful ways.
Vanishing, then, teeters on the brink of both absence and presence,
refusing properly to resolve itself into either one or the other; conse-
quently, these terms repeatedly haunt the space of vanishing, threat-
ening to overtake it and undo its destabilizing force. As the Oxford
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