When Kathy Acker writes about the body, it is frequently subjected to self-abnegation; there is a sense that the cohesion of self and body hangs on complete destruction and rebirth in terms of its material reality. The figure of the Pirate is an avatar through which Acker explores these tensions, particularly as they relate to her experience of femininity and gender, which, in many ways, aligns with experiences of gender dysphoria. In negotiating the ways in which she would like to be desired with the feminist knowledge that influenced her thought, Acker lays out a path in which the dysphoric body that is assigned female at birth may occupy a third space outside the gender binary. This article puts Acker's writing on the Pirate in dialog with Georges Bataille's figure of the Acéphale to explore the system of knowledge that comes from this subject—one whose articulation is in constant regeneration.

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