The phrase 'the starter proper' is correct grammar for saying 'directly mounted to the starter'. I guess you missed English class the day they explained that, huh?
In all seriousness, the starter solenoid on a 97 does double duty. It engages the drive into the flywheel, and it also closes the main high-current connection to the starter windings. This is different than the older XJ's with the fender mounted Ford-type starter solenoid/relay.
1992 XJ -- stock (RIP)
2000 XJ -- lots of basic mods. Sold to fellow forum member. I miss it.
2014 JK -- the project is just starting!
For Sale to Good Home---2000 XJ Factory Service Manual (Printed Version) PM for details.