The subject of sacrifice in John Wilkinson's down to earth
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This article discusses John Wilkinson's volume Down to Earth (2008), and in particular the use of the trope of sacrifice in that book's examination of the violence inherent in capitalism. Making a comparison with Wilkinson's Proud Flesh (1986), it suggests that Wilkinson has maintained a consistent interest in the relation of repressed intimacy between the subject and its objects, both psychic symbols and the commodity form. This article analyses the relation between subject and object in each poem, focusing particularly on their accounts of the fragmentation of the self, the perceptions and pleasures of infancy, the exploitation of the worker by the consumer, and the unknowability of the other. It distinguishes Wilkinson's parodic account from the radical potentiality which Bataille finds in sacrifice, and considers how Marxist perspectives (including the writings of Adorno and Horkheimer) as well as psychoanalytic ones (Lacan, object relations theory, and Anzieu) inform Wilkinson's representation of the object world. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.