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Death and Tenses
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Death and Tenses: Posthumous Presence in Early Modern France

Neil Kenny

Abstract

In what tense should we refer to the dead? The question has long been asked, from Cicero to Julian Barnes. Answering it is partly a matter of grammar and stylistic convention. But the hesitation, annoyance, even distress that can be caused by the ‘wrong’ tense suggests that more may be at stake: our very relation to the dead. This book investigates how tenses were used in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century France (especially in French but also in Latin) to refer to dead friends, lovers, family members, enemies, colleagues, writers, officials, monarchs—and to those who had died long befor ... More

Keywords: tense, aspect, death, posthumous presence, Rabelais, Montaigne, early modern France, Renaissance humanism, funerary writing, devotional writing

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780198754039
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754039.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Neil Kenny, author
All Souls College, University of Oxford, Professor of French