As members of human society, perhaps the most difficult task we face daily is that of touching one another—whether the touch is physical, moral, emotional or imaginary. Contact is crisis. As the anthropologists say, “Every touch is a modified blow.” The difficulty presented by any instance of contact is that of violating a fixed boundary, transgressing a closed category where one does not belong.

∆ Anne Carson, excerpt from Dirt and Desire: Essay on the Phenomenology of Female Pollution in Antiquity, in Men in the Off Hours