Dating from the late fourteenth century the noun ‘inhabitation’ denotes the ‘act or fact of dwelling;’ but also a ‘state of being’ and a ‘place of lodging’ or ‘abode’ from the Old French habitacion or abitacion ‘a dwelling or act of dwelling’ (12th century). It might also come directly from the Latin habitationem, the nominative case of habitation, ‘a dwelling,’ a noun of action from the past participle stem of habitare whose common Latin root is the past participle of the verb ‘to live, inhabit, dwell,’ the frequentative of habere ‘to have, to hold, possess.’ A most unstable term which must have arisen when the need was felt for an abstract term to express the ideas of making a home, and, by extension, populating. It is a rich word, conjuring as it does notions of occupancy, residence, ownership, control, possession, but also antithetical ideas of pre-occupancy or co-occupancy or post-occupancy, as in the fact of haunting and the state of being haunted. Like Freud's ‘Unheimliche’ (2001 [1917-1919]), ‘inhabitation’ highlights the unstable boundary between the familiar and the strange as well as the porous nature of the membrane between the inner and the outer. This paper will approach the following question: as a writer, do I inhabit language, or does it inhabit me? I will do so with specific reference to ‘Air: Dreamwork of a novel’ and ‘Masks,’ two works concerned with dialogical authorship and heteronymy.
Keywords: Inhabitation – language – writing – psychoanalysis – poetics