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.
WANTED--MJ Comanche to restore. Must be solid, (relatively) rust free chassis. Send me a PM if you have a line on one that is for sale.